August 5 - 18
Julie Heller East is pleased to present a 2 week show of one of Provincetown's great Abstract Expressionist artists, JIM FORSBERG (1919 - 1991). The show will feature large-scale works from the 80s and 90s - often filled with birds in flight - a vital and expansive imagery present in his late paintings and collages. Hailing from the mid west, Jim studied art in Minnesota under the guiding hand of Alexander Masley and Cameron Booth. He continued his art studies in New York City with among others, Will Barnett and later Hans Hofmann. He was also an accomplished print maker and trained actor. The 1940s witnessed Forsberg, energetic and absorbed in the heyday of the Abstract Expressionist movement. He hobnobbed with many of the greats of the day, among them Lester Johnson, Robert Motherwell and Judith Rothschild. From 1946 on his work demonstrated a formal foundation of modernist structure and an ease with which he fractured larger forms into smaller, creating maelstroms of energy. A 1950 trip to visit Stonehenge reinforced his affinity to stone towers and rock formation in general, a subject which remained close to him throughout his career. Ann Wilson Lloyd spoke of his works possessing "a dare-devil balance and off-handed casual elegance on a par with Hofmann's late lyrical canvases." Forsberg's work was ever evolving - moving through periods of impasto, love affairs with metallic spheres, primary colors and Japanese printed rice paper. He was a true and fearless adventurer finding solace in the process of exploration. His environment, both physical and mental and his relationship to it had a profound effect on his art. He once said: "I like the dance of space, the strength in balance, the voices of color, the challenge of interval, the mystery of creation and the promise of possibility. The puzzle becomes the process. Putting the pieces together gives me great joy.”
He made Provincetown his home in 1954 where he continued to explore the surface of his paintings and imagery in his work. The circle inside the square gradually morphed and opened up as elements of collage took over and drips, suggesting other-worldly aspects in his work, entered the picture plane. Subject matter became less complex during his last years and the strength of simplicity and release into brilliant color and lyrical ascent dominated his final canvases. He was known as a painters' painter, well respected by his peers and a forceful influence on the contemporary art scene. His oeuvre was intensely personal, filled with the grace and sophistication of the man - as Will Barnett once observed, the uniqueness of Jim Forsberg comes shining through his painting. The work on display at Julie Heller East savors the essence of a fine man and a fine artist.