The Depot Gallery is privileged to host “The Garden Chronicles, Plus,” an exhibit of paintings by George Bogart (1933-2005) curated by his widow Elyse. Several additional paintings have been added since the September opening reception. A second reception for “The Garden Chronicles, Plus,” will be held on Friday, October 12, 2018, from 6 to 9 pm, in conjunction with the Norman Art Walk, during which live music will be provided by Gunter Hammett from 7 to 9 pm. Regular gallery hours are 9 am to 2 pm Monday through Friday. There is no admission charge.
George Bogart was a brilliant and prodigious painter with an innate feel for color and space. His work was exhibited all over the United States throughout his career and is included in numerous private and public collections.
Susan Havens Caldwell, University of Oklahoma David Ross Boyd Professor Emerita, Art History, has graciously written the following ABSTRACTION AND GEORGE BOGART, especially for this exhibit.
“George Bogart’s paintings are abstract in the original Latin sense of the word, absrtrahere (ab: motion away from a fixed point; trahere: to drag or pull away).
As Bogart wrote in one of the journals he kept during his career, abstraction had to derive from real experiences, real vision. For him abstraction didn’t mean “just painting your emotions; there had to be a starting point from the imagery in the world, something concrete.”
In the earliest stages of his career he had been drawn to landscape and objects rather than to figures. He soon distanced himself from landscape, however, in his struggle to depart from realism. He declared that he wanted “to create a highly personal world without using time-worn symbols,” and that he didn’t want to “copy nature.” His “highly personal world” is transmitted to that viewer who submits to the rhythms of the expressive drawing strokes that characterize most of Bogart’s paintings.
Examples of how Bogart abstracted are found in the “Garden Chronicles” paintings included in this exhibition. The images derive from forms he has seen up close in nature—in a garden, as the series title suggests. Yet, although the viewer may feel the rustle of plants in the wind and even “hear” the buzzing of insects around the plants (I contend that there is a gentle sound to these paintings), no actual plant forms can be recognized, nor is the coloring true to nature. As he wrote in a statement for his “Garden Chronicles” exhibition at the Untitled [Art Space] in Oklahoma City in 2002:
My paintings are not literal re-creations, stories, or descriptive likenesses of my subjects. They are mental collages of my environment: the wind, light, color and shapes I see around me every day….When combined with paint and color, the shapes begin to take on a life of their own and I try to nurture that as best I can….I am more interested in the things I see in my peripheral vision than in any particular place or specific object. My gardens are not taken from real subjects but are remembered visions or experiences, combined with events and activities of daily life.
Based on mere glimpses (or peripheral views, as Bogart contends) these abstractions convey more of the joy, rhythm and song of nature than any careful rendering of a particular scene could ever evoke.”
Exhibits in The Depot Gallery are made possible in part by grants from the Norman Arts Council and the Oklahoma Arts Council, and by generous individual donors.