Frye Art Museum
photo by Jill Berarducci
Steven Assael A Decade of Painting and Drawing
February 20 through April 18, 1999
The intense and disturbing works of contemporary artist Steven Assael are on view for the first time in Seattle at the Frye Art Museum beginning February 20, 1999 in the exhibition, Steven Assael A Decade of Painting and Drawing. Breaking ground in Representational art for his mysterious and captivating canvases, Assael's riveting works capture intimate moments in contemporary urban life, while focusing on the human figure. Called a romantic realist, Assael has been compared with Thomas Eakins, sharing a fascination for the "modern" nude and showing many full-figure nude portraits.
Left: Steven Assael, Bride III, 1990, oil on canvas, 48 x 25 inches
Assael has taught at the School of Visual Arts in New York since 1985 and has exhibited nationally in major group and solo exhibitions, including shows at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Forum Art Gallery in New York.
The focus of Assael's work is the human figure, either singly or in groups. Paintings range in scope from large, head-on portraits to two-part, full-length images. Generally, there is no specific story to the figure groupings, but there is often an implied narrative created by the arrangement.
The group paintings appear to capture a scene or a relationship just before or after a significant event has taken place, creating a sense of muted drama. In Michael and James the impassive figure of a fireman holds the limp child in his arms in a non-dramatic fashion, although the way in which the figures are lit lends them drama and the figures have no facial expression which would allow the viewer to judge their state of mind - Assael allows the viewer to provide their own narrative content. His tableaux and portraits evoke contemporary life in an Old Master style.
For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.
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