John Gibson

November 2 – December 13, 1996
John Gibson

John Gibson's eccentric and seductive paintings are investigations of geometric form in space. Gibson closely regards issues of volume, pattern, color, light and reflection in questioning the nature of perception and the relationship of reality and illusion.

When Gibson began showing his work in the mid 1980s, spheres were juxtaposed with cubes, cylinders and polygons, horizontally enumerated in the manner of the sparest of Spanish 17th century still lifes. By 1990 Gibson was using only spheres, piled in pyramidal stacks which create a sense of classical balance and order, but which, on closer inspection, are seen to be structurally impossible. In the stacks in this exhibition, which date from 1993 to 1996, the spheres are patterned with complex surfaces - spirals, arabesques, stripes and dots - and color is emphatic and varied. The stacked spheres exist in enigmatic settings in which the grounds appear monochromatic but are actually complex layers of hues. Chiaroscuro (the contrast of light and dark) and reflections add additional elements of interest to Gibson's complex investigations.

In John Gibson's most recent work the spheres are reduced in number to one or two - their reflections taking on almost equal importance. In some of these square format paintings space is flattened and defined only by the merest suggestion of a horizontal plane articulated between the two balls as the thinnest of shadows.

John Gibson was born in Northampton, Massachusetts in 1958 and attended the Rhode Island School of Design where he received his B.F.A. in 1980, and Yale University where he completed his M.F.A. in 1982. He began exhibiting his work in 1984 and has participated in various solo and group exhibitions since then. The exhibition at the University Gallery is his first solo museum exhibition. Gibson has taught at smith College, Amherst College and Hampshire College as a visiting instructor and is presently teaching at the Rhode Island School of Design.

John Gibson is on view from November 2 through December 13. Gibson will deliver a public lecture about his work in the context of still life painting on Monday, November 18 at 7:00 p.m. in the University Gallery. The lecture is free and open to the public.

David Gibson, the artist's brother, will give a solo cello performance on Wednesday, December 11 at 8:00 p.m. in the University Gallery. David Gibson will play works by Bach, Gabrielli, Joel Chadabe, Yung Wha Son, and David Gibson. The public is welcome to this special evening concert.


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