David Park and Bay Area Arts in the 1940s and 50s

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David Park (1911 – 1960), ground-breaking West Coast painter, was a leader in what became known as Bay Area Figurative Art—a daring move during the post-World War II years when Abstract Expressionism held sway. Bay Area Figurative Art became the first movement of national importance to originate in California; its brilliant evocation of the region’s color, light, and spaciousness and its integration of figures and the natural world remain relevant for painters today. In her definitive biography of Park and her illustrated talk, Boas traces Park’s resolute search for a new kind of figuration, one that would penetrate Abstract Expressionism’s thickly layered surfaces and infuse them with human presence. Boas also highlights Park’s strong influence on Richard Diebenkorn, Elmer Bischoff, and other artists who taught at the California School of Fine Arts and the University of California, Berkeley. She plunges us into the lively Bay Area art scene in the 1940s and 1950s, pointing to Park’s work as a bold alternative to the abstractions of painter Clyfford Still.

Nancy Boas' David Park: A Painter's Life was listed on The San Francisco Chronicle's Best Books of 2012: 100 Recommended Books. Book sales and signing to follow the author's lecture.

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