Paul Resika: 8 + 8

January 6 - February 10, 2013

Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects presents 8 + 8, a two-gallery survey of Paul Resika’s painting, featuring eight works that span eight decades of Resika’s career, beginning in the 1940s and continuing up to the present. Connected to personalities as diverse as Hans Hofmann, Edward Hopper, Leo Castelli, Milton Resnick and Clement Greenberg, his career stands as a veritable roadmap for the diversity of the New York art world over the past seventy years.

This condensed ‘microspective’ includes an essential work from distinct stylistic phases in Resika’s career, highlighting his painterly breadth and reflecting his own attempt to capture what is essential in his subjects. This exhibition is concurrent with an exhibition of eight new Resika paintings at Lori Bookstein Fine Art.

Resika (b. 1928) combines loose New York School painting and representational depiction with a singular boldness and poetic specificity. He negotiates the terrain between past and present, memory and observation, abstraction and representation.

Against the backdrop of the trends of pop and minimalism that swept the New York art world, Resika remained a truly independent figure, unafraid to follow his paintings wherever they took him. His career took dramatic and surprising twists.

Born in New York City, Resika studied with Hans Hofmann as a teenager and had his first solo show at age 19 at George Dix Gallery in New York. Seeking the traditional tools that Hofmann had received, such as training in perspective and anatomy, Resika travelled throughout Europe during the 1950s – 60s, studying 19th century landscape and old master painting. Upon returning to America, he introduced painting outdoors into his practice.

In the 1980s, Resika discovered a new motif in Provincetown – the squat rectangular pier buildings on the seafront. Yet after years of plein air painting, Resika no longer paints these seaside scenes from life; instead he generates metonymic symbols for his trees, boats and people. Resika’s recent painting calls to mind the concept of ‘pittura metafisica’ or what the Italian painter Carlo Carrà termed ‘painting without adjectives.’ The emptiness of the architecture in Resika’s pictures is reminiscent of the way De Chirico orchestrates elements in space.

Resika once said that his paintings were never “of something; rather they are something – paintings that have their own very independent existence from the landscape they imagine.”

Resika currently splits his time between New York City and Cape Cod. He has had a profound impact on younger generations of painters as both an artist and teacher, serving as chair of Parson’s MFA program from 1978-1990. Resika has exhibited at the National Academy of Design; the Museum of Modern Art; the Smithsonian Institute; and the Art Institute of Chicago. He has received numerous grants and awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and election to the National Academy of Design.