A new exhibit that’s just opened at the Schrager & Clarke Gallery of big, lush oil paintings by Adam Grosowsky offers more of all the same things the Eugene painter’s fans love about his work. And that’s not a bad thing.
Grosowsky, a long-time popular teacher of painting at Lane Community College, might be this town’s most commercially successful painter. For decades now he’s produced a steady stream of big, bold, easy to like paintings of women, faces, birds and landscapes, all done in the same deceptively loose style.
He’s mined this same vein for most of his career, with minor variations. Why, after all, mess with success?
This current show, which will have an opening reception on Saturday, is no different, though as I’ve gotten to know his work over the years I’ve come more and more to appreciate some of the subtleties of his art.
This time around it’s a series of smaller, quiet and reflective female figures that has grabbed my attention the most.
Arrayed along one side the the gallery, the paintings almost form a narrative of a day in the life of their subject. In one, she seems to have stepped out of Vermeer’s world in another, she gazes off a balcony, her back to the viewer. The images are comfortable and lively at the same time.
Another favorite motif of Grosowsky’s is his bold faces, painted large, often using birds as an accent. Here we have a quiet woman’s face, with fll red lips, above the dark figure of a rave; there we see a boy’s face with a brightly painted kingfisher, its blue the color of royalty. Sometimes the bird is a parrot or a finch. And, in one case here, it’s an enormous rooster.
Sometimes the character has stepped out of the circus, as in a drummer boy.
A bonus feature of this exhibit is a large coffee table book Grosowky has produced about art. Titled “Picture Box: A Primer of Western Representational Imagemaking Principles (And Other Lies),” it describes some of the fundamental principles of art and is illustrated lavishly with Grosowsky’s own work and that of his students.
Grosowsky is one of those painters who does difficult work while making it appear easy. His paintings don’t shout out about their technique; instead, his visual technique is almost invisible, buried in the rightness of his composition and color and the seemingly casual way he’s thrown paint onto the canvas.
But, in fact, his work isn’t casual at all – and most paintings reward close inspection. Drop by the gallery before January 3 and do just that.
Adam Grosowsky: New Work
Schrager & Clarke Gallery, 760 Willamette Street
Through January 3
Reception: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, November 15