Paul Resika: Empty Paintings

February 15 - March 19, 2017

Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects presents “Empty: Paintings by Paul Resika.” The exhibition includes paintings from the past thirty years: from the artist’s studio and on loan from private collections. The exhibition includes paintings that highlight Resika’s ongoingrelationship to “emptiness,” where the represented objects — vessels, houses, and flowers — are depicted as elemental and symbolic volumes, floating in color fields.

Connected to personalities as diverse as Hans Hofmann, Edward Hopper, Leo Castelli, Milton Resnick and Clement Greenberg, Resika’s career stands as a veritable roadmap for the diversity of the New York art world over the past seventy years. Against a backdrop of ever-changing styles, Resika has remained a truly independent figure, unafraid to follow his paintings wherever they took him. His career has taken dramatic and surprising twists.

Born in New York City in 1928, Resika studied with Hans Hofmann in the 1940s. He had his first solo show at age 19 at George Dix Gallery in New York. Although his career was on the verge of success with the critical imprimatur of figures like Leo Castelli and Clement Greenberg, and although his early work was rooted in vanguard abstraction, Resika was not satisfied. He was seeking the traditional tools his art education lacked, such as training in perspective and anatomy. Therefore, when Resika travelled throughout Europe during the 1950s and 60s, he studied 19th century landscape and old master painting, and, in Venice, worked as an assistant to the neo-Baroque muralist Edward Melcarth. Upon returning to America, he eventually began painting outdoors. In the 1980s, Resika discovered a new motif in Provincetown – the rectangular pier buildings on the seafront. Yet after years of observational painting, Resika no longer paints these seaside scenes from life; instead he generates poetic symbols – fundamental forms and volumes – for his trees, boats and people.

This exhibition investigates Resika’s contemporary relationship to Carlo Carrà’s concept of ‘pittura metafisica,’ and what Carrà termed ‘painting without adjectives.’ The emptiness of the architecture of Resika’s paintings is reminiscent of the way De Chirico and Carrà orchestrated 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.” It is in this poetic starkness that they are “empty.”

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’s work is included in the collections of the the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the
Addison Gallery among numerous others. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship (1984) and has been elected Academician at the National Academy of Design (1978) and the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1994). This is his second one person exhibition at Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects.

Please contact the gallery with any inquiries, info@shfap.com or 917-861-7312