Robert Beck (b. 1950), Sunday Morning, 1996. Oil on panel. 24 x 18 inches. James A. Michener Art Museum.
The Michener Art Museum presents “It’s Personal: The Art of Robert Beck,” opening July 30. The exhibition focuses on Robert Beck’s place in the storied world of the New Hope-Lambertville arts community. Beck has played an important role in advancing and expanding the region’s traditions of Impressionism and Urban Realism, with distinctive oil paintings of the people, places, and occupations of our time. He is well known for documentary paintings, as he refers to his paintings done on site in one go. Whether single works or multi-image “visual essays,” these distinct paintings record his world much like the Pennsylvania Impressionists recorded theirs in their time. Unlike those images, Beck describes a world that contemporary audiences recognize as their own. Viewers respond to his keen perspective on the storefronts, street corners, bars, restaurants, carnivals, basketball games, funeral homes, and parades, of their here and now. While New York, Bucks County, and the villages along the upper coast of Maine, present subjects and contrast for his examinations, the exhibit includes work from series he created in the American West, Europe, and Africa. It is a remarkable story of a contemporary artist establishing a voice, becoming part of a community, and creating a body of work that will resonate in Bucks County and well beyond for many years. more