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OPENING RECEPTION: Saturday, November 23, 2002  |  From 5-7pm

Harry Carmean is obdurate. In the 1940s, when so many California artists were enchanted with watercolors of city life, Carmean began to paint the human figure using oils. Later, when Surrealism became the mantra of the West Coast, Carmean continued his study of the body. In the 1950s, as avant-garde artists adopted Modernism, Carmean continued his investigation of the human figure.

By the 1960s, some of California's painters began to receive national attention with exhibitions in New York, and a few, like Richard Diebenkorn, began to attract international attention. A few of California's brightest stars, like Carmean, focused on the human form. David Park, Nathan Olivera, Elmer Bischoff and others became known as the Bay Area Figurative Painters. Interestingly, this group, without exception, chose increasingly abstracted styles. Carmean, nonetheless, remained committed to the exploration of human figure and his vision of the classical point of view.

In the 1970s, as Op Art and Conceptual Art captivated upcoming artists, Carmean remained stalwart. Gradually, the contemporary world reacted against the very heart of Carmean's sensual lines. Geometric Abstraction and the Hard Edge school continued to be influential. Photorealism had its day. Mel Ramos and others celebrated a plasticized and dehumanized figure. But not Carmean, who remained with the human form.


The decades of the 1980s and 1990s brought a new focus of technology and art. The lexicon of the art world filled with technical terminology unintelligible to earlier generations of artists: video art, computer generated graphics, digital animation, cyber art, and a host of cheap and quick reproduction methods. The computer is the Siren of the era. It seduced many. But not Carmean, the modern Sisyphus devotedly returns to his task - the artful rendering of the human figure in oil. An artistic antecedent from the influences of Caravaggio and Goya, Carmean brings forth a twenty-first century romanticism to the human figure matured over his sixty year career.

Tenacious, stubborn, unyielding, and obdurate. Carmean has persisted. Carmean paints the human figure, male and female, at work, at play, in song, at leisure and in its most intimate moment - in the art of love.

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