new-york

Bill Jensen

Washburn Gallery

Bill Jensen is one of the most significant painters of his generation, and his work—particularly during the late ’70s—exerted a profound influence on younger artists. Whereas the then-fashionable neo-Expressionists combined images pastiched from eclectic cultural sources with a loose painterly style, Jensen renewed the symbolist impulse that fueled the work of late American Romantics and early American Modernists such as Albert Pinkham Ryder and Marsden Hartley without resorting to parody or kitsch. He gambled that his painting would be able to absorb, transform, and revitalize what many had considered a moribund tradition.

For the first half of the ’80s, Jensen’s paintings were seldom more than two feet square, and the painterly effects ranged from thick, blunt strokes to scraped-away areas and thin washes of paint. Typically, compositions were worked on over a period of years, and their

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.