Paul Feeley: Corfu (February 22), 1962
Oil-based enamel on canvas, 60 x 48 inches
September 13 — October 25, 2008
The exhibition includes nine enamel on canvas paintings made between 1961 and 1964. Feeley’s abstract works with their bright colors, simple repetitive forms and symmetrical compositions occupy an important place in the history of twentieth-century American art. Feeley, alongside Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland, worked against the grain of the prevailing Abstract Expressionists in the 1950s and his work is most often associated with the Color Field painters. Feeley’s distinct body of work, however, reflects a wide range of influences, including ancient Greek and Cycladic sculptures, Moorish decorative tiles and contemporary American subjects, like his motif derived from the children’s game of jacks.
Although his work is not as well known today, during his lifetime Feeley was at the center of the New York art world. His first one-person exhibition was at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery in 1955. Starting in 1960, and continuing until his untimely death in 1966, he had yearly one-person exhibitions at the Betty Parsons Gallery. In 1968, he was given a major retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Feeley was fundamental in establishing the celebrated art department at Bennington College, where he taught for over twenty years. At Bennington, he organized many historic exhibitions including the first retrospectives of his friends Jackson Pollock, David Smith, and Hans Hoffmann, exposing his students—Helen Frankenthaler among them—to many of the most significant artists of the time.