Boston University Art Galleries

Boston University

Boston, MA



The World as Mirror: Paintings by Jon Imber, 1978-1998


The World as Mirror: Paintings by Jon Imber, 1978-1998, opens at Boston University's 808 Gallery on October 22 and runs through December 5, 1999. An opening reception will be held on Friday, October 22, from 6 - 8 p.m., preceded by a gallery talk by the artist beginning at 5 p.m.

The mid-career retrospective of more than seventy paintings by Jonathan Imber, curated by Boston University Gallery Director John Stomberg, demonstrates the enormous vitality and range of this artist's creative activity. Moving from a narrative focus, to landscape, to still life, and back to the human figure, Imber has clearly heeded the voice of his teacher, Philip Guston, to " . . . get to whatever it is that's going to sustain you for a lifetime as a painter." (left: Self Portrait, 1982, oil on canvas, 66 x 54 inches)

Imber's career has been outstanding - he is a nationally recognized artist who made a conscious decision to remain in New England and who defied current trends and styles to steadfastly follow his own path. From the beginning, as he emerged from two years of intense study with his mentor, Philip Guston, Imber chose a very different path from his contemporaries. Contradicting the cry of the 1970s that painting was a dead art form, he not only chose to paint, he chose to paint the human figure and explore the complexities of interpersonal relationships.

Images from left to right: Man Holding Large Nail, 1981, oil on canvas, 66 x 60 inches; Rope, 1987, oil on Masonite, 20 x 16 inches; Afternoon on Eagle Island, oil on canvas, 72 x 60 inches; Upstate, 1985, oil on canvas, 80 x 90 inches; Cattails, 1990, oil on canvas, 60 x 80 inches

From his first important exhibition at the Brandeis University Rose Art Museum in 1978, Imber has been acknowledged as "one of Boston's most accomplished expressionists," (Francine Koslow Miller, Art New England, February 1995). The artist's influences range broadly from expressionism to Pompeii, from medieval cathedrals to Picasso and Matisse. After a recent trip to France he spoke excitedly about an underground crypt he visited at Auxerre where he found Romanesque frescoes dating to 1050 - describing them as stylized, powerful, human, and spiritual, with simple colors set inside of ovals - a description that reflects the tensions he plays with in his own work between personal vision and new and exciting paint, between content and form.

A 48-page color catalog of the exhibition is available.

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