AN AMERICAN ARTIST BLENDS INK-WASH TECHNIQUES AND MODERNIST ABSTRACTION IN A SOULFUL STYLE OF HIS OWN
by Edward M. Gómez
Nowadays, it seems, many contemporary artists still have not received, read, and responded to the memo. Which one?
The one that went out some time ago informing them that now-tired postmodernist detachment and calculated irony are dead, and that sincerity, authenticity, and the expressive power of fine craftsmanship — of what they can say through their own skillful handling of their materials instead of sending their designs out to be produced for them by fabricators — is in.
With this in mind, for many years I’ve been following the development of the work and ideas of the American painter Michael Newman, whose life journey has taken him to Asia many times and whose focus on a fine balance between the technical and the communicative aspects of his art has become a hallmark of almost everything he creates.
Born in Berkeley, California, in January 1945, Newman grew up in the countryside around San Francisco long before it was overtaken by suburban sprawl. As a young man in the early 1960s, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was sent to Japan; more than a decade had passed since the end of the postwar, U.S.-led Allied Occupation of that war-torn country, which was vigorously rebuilding its economy and shattered cities, and developing the infrastructure and institutions of a modern democracy.
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