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James Bishop

Malerei und Poesie

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Edited by Gianfranco Verna and Michael Semff


24.5 x 34 cm
ca. 96 Pages
about 80 illustrations
Hardcover
October 2017

ISBN 978-3-944874-72-2 (German)



/ In-depth look at James Bishop’s outstanding oeuvre

/ Poetic, abstract paintings on paper

/ Celebrating the artist’s 90th birthday

James Bishop can be called the only real painter of his generation still alive. He has developed a unique, poetic, and sensitive visual vocabulary, and describes himself as “an Abstract Expressionist of the quieter kind.” Bishop likes to have his art speak for him, as he believes it has a language of its own: “Artists should neither be seen nor heard, with the exception of opera singers, of course.” Although Bishop began his career with stronger colors on large canvases, which speak for themselves, he soon turned to earth tones, and then later grays in square, mostly unmodified, smaller formats. This tendency toward reduction has remained constant from the 1960s until just recently, especially with regard to individual works on paper. Bishop has been on a persistent search for an aesthetic balance among opposing factors: drawing and painting, opacity and transparence, two and three dimensions, open forms and simple tectonic elements. In his work he has succeeded in compellingly interweaving these opposing forces into a subtle tonal relationship, creating a miniature-like, intimate aura. The art critic John Ashbery very aptly describes Bishop’s work as “half architecture, half air.”

James Bishop (*1927) has lived for more than half a century in France. He studied under Esteban Vicente at Black Mountain College and at 
Columbia University. He considers himself “a painter looking for something new after Robert Motherwell, and then later after Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko, and Ad Reinhardt.” His works of art have been shown around the world in individual and group shows, and can be found in both public and private collections worldwide, including The Art Institute of Chicago, the Louisiana Museum in Humlebæk, the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung in Munich, the MoMA in New York, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Kunstmuseum Winterthur, the Kunsthaus Zurich, and others.