Reuben Nakian

 

 

Nakian, who was twice the U.S. representative on the occasion of the VI. Bienal in São Paulo, Brazil, 1961 and the Venice Biennale, 1968, began to explore in the late 1930s Greek mythology, its Roman variants and the history of earlier European art in an attempt to arrive at his own universal synthesis. By 1950 he had developed his mature style, characterized by a devotion to classical mythology in which heroism and heightened sensuality predominate. He had met and become friends with many artists, such as Arshile Gorky and Willem de Kooning, who would later figure importantly in American Abstract expressionism.

Nakian's handling of his materials, his intense reaction to the sensuousness of surface and form, underscores the sense of the erotic and the dynamic. His bronze sculptures, executed with an intense, hands-on approach, are alive with a free and joyous expressionism. Indeed, this same sensibility which gives his sculpture such a driving vitality recoils in dreamlike marks to produce drawings that are fluid, harmonious, and full of dramatic incident.

A 28 page illustrated catalogue was published by Kouros Gallery on the occasion of Nakianās Fall 1991 exhibition.