Throughout his career Darby Bannard has 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 part of the later New York School. In 1970 he began 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. Today Bannard is Professor and Head of Painting at University of Miami and, always the innovator, is working with a group of painters creating the Miami School of Abstraction.
Bannard usually works very large and in series that may last years. In between he creates small works that allow him to innovate – to be free – to enjoy. With photographs of his new home-state – his own and others, as reference, Bannard uses 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. For those who have experienced the indescribable Florida sunrises and sunsets, Bannard has captured as it can only be done – in paint - the delicate pinks of sunrise, the intense Day-glo orange of sunset, the ensuing storm and the illusive Green Flash. 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 (he now has 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 is 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 is represented in NYC by Loretta Howard Gallery. We are honored to have him here at Watson MacRae Gallery.
Florida Abstracted (2011)
Paintings and Prints by Contemporary Notables (2013)
ARTIST WEBSITE: wdbannard.com