new-york

David Humphrey

McKee Gallery

One persistent reading of Surrealist painting divides the artists grouped under the heading of that movement into two groups: the pictorialists (principally, Giorgio de Chirico from 1910 to around 1922, René Magritte, and Yves Tanguy) and the automatists (André Masson, Joan Miró, after 1925, and Roberto Matta). The automatists are seen as precursors of the Abstract Expressionists, while the pictorialists failed to give birth to a movement or style in America. The agenda imbedded in this reading is the maintenance of that old sawhorse, abstraction versus figuration. Since Philip Guston challenged this view with his late ’60s paintings, artists as diverse as David True, Archie Rand, Cheryl Laemmle, and David Humphrey have all been influenced in one way or another by the work of the pictorially inclined Surrealists. They found ways to arrive at the pictorial through the use of techniques

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