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Press Release

George Tooker
April 25- June 22, 2007

This exhibition features George Tooker’s two most recent paintings, Girl Reading, 2003, and Sibyl, 2005, which are exhibited here for the first time. Also on view are selected earlier works, several of which investigate important recurring themes in Tooker's oeuvre.

“Rich and complex, Tooker’s recent art shows the poetic imagination working at full strength,” critic Nancy Grimes has commented. “His luminous, profoundly silent paintings distill and synthesize perceptions, ideas, emotions and intuitions into contemplative images that elude analysis. Rightly, Tooker has refused to talk about his work. Why should he, when his paintings speak so passionately for him?”

Tooker, now 86, develops his ideas slowly and refines them patiently in the painstaking medium of egg tempera. From conception to completion, Tooker’s paintings can take six months or more to complete, as layer after layer of color must be laid down on panels in order to achieve the luminosity characteristic of his work. Subtle textures are added with hatched brushstrokes and highlights and shadows are refined as the forms take on bulk and dimension and the image grows in density, richness, and depth. Many of Tooker’s ideas require multiple explorations of a subject within the boundaries of a particular theme in order to reach their fullest expression. His entire body of work since 1945 consists of less than one hundred seventy small egg tempera panels.

A major retrospective of Tooker's work is currently being organized by the Columbus Museum in Ohio, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia and the National Academy Museum in New York.

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