DARBY BANNARD (1934 - 2016)
Sadly, Walter Darby Bannard passed away in early October 2016. Berry Campbell, Bannard’s New York gallery captured his essence in their announcement - ”He was a great man, an intellectual genius, a generous mentor, and an unstoppable artist. He will be missed immeasurably.” He was a friend - and a good guy.
Throughout his career Darby Bannard made significant original contributions to the field of art. Starting in Princeton University with his friend, Frank Stella he was an initiator of the Minimalist movement and later a leader in Color Field painting.
In 1970 he was one of the first artists to use the new acrylic medium, which evolved into his ground-breaking paintings of colorful expanses of richly colored gels applied – due to a fortuitous lack of brushes – with squeegees, rakes and brooms.
Bannard worked very large and in series that may last years. In between he created small works that allowed him to innovate, to be free, to enjoy – works such as his striking mixed media sunsets on paper. With photographs of his new home-state – his own and others, as reference, Bannard used primarily oil sticks to capture the vibrant colors of the Florida landscape and to that adds what he has at hand – chalk, spray paint, minerals spirits producing work that encapsulates the splendor and expansiveness of the Florida Sky, which seems the main subject in these works. As Bannard often says in his artist statements, “I hope you enjoy the pictures.”
For over 45 years people across the world have enjoyed his pictures starting with his first solo exhibit in NYC in 1965, which now number close to 100. In 1987 Clement Greenberg proclaimed him one of the best five or six living painters. For his work Bannard has received six national awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship. Bannard’s work is in the collections of all the major New York and US museums and several overseas. He was a prolific writer on art with over 100 published essays and reviews in ArtNews, Art Forum, Art in America and the NY Times. He curated and wrote the catalog for the first comprehensive retrospective exhibition of the paintings of Han Hofmann at the Hirshhorn Museum. Bannard served as professor and head of painting at the University of Miami, Coral Gables for over 25 years. He is represented in NYC by Berry Campbell Gallery.