September, 2015

Allen M. Hart Retrospective


Much of the work it encompassed had been completed within the previous 18 months. With this retrospective we honor his extraordinary courage in the face of debilitating illness, his refusal to stop working until the last possible moment and his unmistakable sly grin;  all elements of Allen that continue to be sorely missed.


Hart's work was both deeply personal and firmly embedded in the expressionist world.  Like Soutine, he appropriated a language that often created a high level of discomfort for the viewer; unlike Soutine, he did so with a wry self-knowledge and generous wit that mitigated the difficulty of much of his imagery.


He worked in a wide range of media, from oil and acrylic to drawings and collages. A unique part of Allen's legacy was his book art, of which several examples will be on display. The exhibit includes many rarely seen abstract paintings and some very early works from the 1950's. Most important, it will showcase some of the glass mosaic pieces that Allen found so expressive at the end of his life.


Of his work, critics said:


"Hart meshes the Northern Renaissance fantastic realism of Bosch and Breugel with the collage of de Kooning and Rauschenberg" -- Joel Silverstein, Review Magazine


" ... George Grosz hovers over this work, but it is strong, disquieting and splendidly executed". -- John Gruen, The New York Herald Tribune


" ... these armies of Monsters, ... often seem to be sharing jokes among themselves, probably at our expense. Drawn with great delicacy individually, they are jumbled (skillfully) into appalling masses..."

-- John Canaday, The New York Times




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