Gary Erbe (American, b. 1944), Celebrating an American Patriot, 2014, oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches, Private Collection

Gary Erbe (American, b. 1944), Jazz, 2016-17, construction, 66 x 58 inches, Private Collection

 

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Every day

May 5, 2018

- August 5, 2018

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Internationally known, Gary Erbe’s iconic images of Americana explore a wide range of familiar subjects, including the golden age of television, sports, popular cartoons, classic Saturday morning matinees, and culturally important social commentary. Erbe’s work combines flat space forms that are exaggerated and enhanced by shadow, light, and color. The result is pure three-dimensional illusion. While there are and will always be elements of trompe l’oeil (a painting  or design intended to create the illusion of a three-dimensional object) in his work, he has less of an interest in ‘fooling the eye’ in favor of stimulating the mind.

In describing his art, Erbe says that he has “found ways of circumventing the so-called rules of trompe l’oeil in favor of originality, inventiveness, and creativity.” He often refers to his paintings as ‘levitational realism’ to create a visual story. Gary Erbe: 50 Year Retrospective is part of a national touring exhibition presented at The Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio; The Brinton Museum in Big Horn, Wyoming; and the John F. Peto Studio Museum in Island Heights, New Jersey from 2017 through 2018.

Gary Erbe was born in 1944 in Union City, New Jersey, and was self-taught as a painter. He worked as an engraver from 1965 – 1970 to support his family, painting nights and weekends to develop his skills. In 1967, he discovered trompe l'oeil painting and its masters. By 1969, Erbe had conceived a way of painting that was a contemporary departure from traditional tromp l’oeil creations. He has exhibited extensively since 1970 with solo exhibitions at museums and galleries throughout America, Asia, and Europe. He is represented in numerous private and public collections including The Phillips Collection (DC), The Butler Institute of American Art (OH), Philadelphia Museum of Art (PA), and more.

"Over the years, I have explored the idiom of abstraction and cubism and how these modern principles can be integrated into trompe l’oeil. I welcome the challenge of bridging the gap between modern art and realism without abandoning technique. I believe I have found ways of circumventing the so-called rules of trompe l’oeil in favor of originality, inventiveness, and creativity. Most of my work since 1970 is highly complex and can be engaged on many different levels. I have underscored the point that my work has less to do with the tenets of trompe l’oeil and far more to do with the creative process of discovery.” — Gary Erbe

Exhibition Programming 

June 22 | 1:30 p.m.
Meet the Artist at the Senior Series.

DATE

Every day

May 5, 2018

- August 5, 2018

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