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April 4 -
June 10, 2017
Selections of Modern Postwar and Contemporary Art

Thomas Benrimo

(b. 1887 San Francisco, California d. 1958 Taos, New Mexico)

In Benrimo’s earlier works his interest in three dimensional form and illustrational ideas are most apparent. He become commercially involved in the importance of realistic subject matter in New York and during the War.  As freedom came to him, he began to develop painting as painting, rather than as a device to present a message.  His painful bouts with tuberculosis, eventually brought him to New Mexico. His daily view of long reaches of the Taos Desert, halted by terminal accents of mountains, brought new concepts of space, and the twisting turns of the Rio Grande against its ochre banks suggested the fluid rhythms that overspread his pictorial compositions.  In the quiet of the desert, thoughts that recalled social ills in the turbulence of the city, gave way to the influences of music, literature (the classics), and solitude.  At this time he said, “I work very much alone since I do not favor group action.  I am inclined toward individual goals”.  The new paintings established a world of his own that continued to communicate ideas, now more lyrical in content, and lighter in tonal values.

Many of his paintings are non-objective in character, while others contain abstract developments of the human figure and other natural forms.  In all of these there is sincerity and integrity.  Technically there is no trace of irresponsible craftsmanship; nothing is slighted.  His masses of subtle light areas are penetrated by slow or swiftly moving curving forms, balanced angular dark accents.  There is great subtlety in the placement of panes; shapes approach and recede; the forms move in and around each other with a kind of elegant engineering.  We have a feeling that if Benrimo had been an architect, his buildings would have been distinguished and remarkably beautiful.


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