John Adams Griefen
The Thing Itself
7 November – 20 December 2014
The Thing Itself
John Adams Griefen has made an important contribution to abstract art in the United states and in Europe and Australia. In his successful career as a painter, he has had more than forty oneperson exhibitions – the first of 17 in New York City was in 1967. He had numerous solo exhibitions throughout the Us in Boston, Portland, Chicago, Baltimore, Washington, and Beverly Hills. Internationally, he has had exhibitions in Canada, in Calgary and Toronto; in sydney, Australia; in Berlin, Germany; in Haarlem, the Netherlands; and five in the Dordogne, France. He has also participated in more than 75 group shows worldwide.
Griefen’s paintings have been acquired by major museums throughout the world. The Metro politan Museum of Art purchased a painting in 1981; other American museum acquisitions include those by the Whitney and Hirshhorn museums, Boston Museum of Fine Art, and Portland Art Museum. His work is in the permanent collections of twenty other American museums, galleries, corporations and libraries; and internationally, his paintings are in five Canadian museums and three Australian museums.
His work has been categorized as color field painting, third-generation American abstraction, and lyrical abstraction. The critic Clement Greenberg, a life-long friend, described his work as, “Phenomenally minimal, aesthetically maximal.” Canadian critic Terry Fenton wrote that his paintings were “… a gift, an indulgence for the eyes, a sheer pleasure for the seeing. … very full, very beautiful, and so freshly fashioned.”
After forty years in New York City, Griefen moved to France in 2009, where he lives and works on an 18th-century farm in the Dordogne. He now creates large sculptures from Périgordian oak slabs and paints on handmade paper from a 13th-century paper mill. The wood sculptures are painted with wide brushes to give the surfaces as much texture as color. They range from 3- meter free-standing forms to small wall hangings. Griefen sprays the thick sculpted paper pieces with acrylic paint; they range in size from 1.5-meter constructions to small single-sheet paintings.
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