Paul Resika: Geometry and the Sea

Opening reception: Wednesday, April 18th, 6-8pm April 18 - May 20, 2018

Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects presents an exhibition of recent paintings by Paul Resika entitled, Geometry and the Sea. The exhibition runs concurrently with a show of related work at Bookstein Projects, 60 East 66th Street. Resika is a 90 year old master of painterly representation who has been painting since he was in his teens. This show continues Resika’s preoccupation with land and sea.

His new paintings of dunes, sea with moons, and mysterious geometric structures extend his landscapes further into a poetic multi-layered pictorial universe. Richard Milazzo writes in his catalog essay, “…better to drift away at sea, to lose ourselves in the angular, blue, moonlit shadows of the night,” yet, there is also a distinct clarity and resolution to Resika’s new images.

The American poet Mark Strand wrote that, “In looking at Resika’s work, one senses two things simultaneously: that nature despite its complexity has been partially transformed into an idealized place of circles, half-circles, triangles, and straight lines, and that the feel of the out-of-doors—the depth of the sky, the outline of the island or distant mountain, the sun, the moon—is palpable and has not been compromised.” It is the paired-down interplay of form and color that makes Resika’s work both abstract and evocative of our visual experience.

Paul Resika was born in New York City in 1928. He had a precocious interest in art and began to study painting by the age of twelve. His most important teacher was Hans Hofmann, with whom he studied on Cape Cod and in New York City in the mid Forties.

Resika rejected Hofmann’s pedagogy when he went to Europe in the 1950’s to study perspective and anatomy from old master painting- aspects of his discipline that he felt had been omitted at Hofmann’s school. When he returned from Europe in the mid-fifties, his work reflected his profound interest in Venetian painting, and existed largely in opposition to what was happening in New York School Painting at the time. Resika was part of an underground of post war New York painters who sought to marry painting from observation with vigorous paint handling and a pictorial sense of abstraction. His lush and elegant Provincetown Piers from the nineteen eighties, his progressively more abstract Vessels series of the nineties, and his figures and landscapes from the early 2000s reveal his ongoing dialog with Hofmann’s sophisticated ideas about color and pictorial structure. This is echoed in the strong relationship that Resika maintains with the art of the past from Titian to de Kooning.

Mark Strand noted that “the force of Resika’s paintings depends not only on their existing with amazing sureness between the contrary demands of realism and abstraction, but also between the sensuous claims of the present and the echoes of an art historical past.”

Resika’s work is in many important public collections including The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. He is a member of The National Academy of Design and American Academy of Arts and Letters.

A catalog is published in conjunction with the exhibition, with texts by Richard Milazzo and Steven Harvey. Please contact Lauren Fowler at the gallery at or call 917-861-7312 for more information or images.