Walter Darby Bannard: Dragon Water


Info: Walter Darby Bannard: Dragon Water, Feb 13 - Mar 15, 2014



February 6, 2014 – Berry Campbell is pleased to announce, Walter Darby Bannard: Dragon Water, featuring sixteen paintings from the 1970s. Bannard, a leader in the development of Color Field Painting in the late 1950s, has been committed to color-based and expressionist abstraction for over five decades. During his undergraduate years at Princeton University, he joined fellow students, the painter Frank Stella and the critic and art historian Michael Fried, in conversations that expanded aesthetic definitions and led to an emphasis on opticality as the defining feature of pictorial art.

By the late 1950s, Bannard had turned from an expressionistic style to working with large geometric areas of contrasting color, creating austere paintings that anticipated the minimal movement by several years. He was also one of the first artists to blend artist’s materials with commercially produced tinted alkyd resin house paints in a search for greater color options.

Around 1970, Bannard’s focus shifted to an exploration of the liquid quality of paint. Drawn to the new acrylic mediums that were becoming available, he began working on the floor using thick gel surfaces and color suspended in Magna or polymer mediums.  At the time, he “thought of color as a liquid, flowing over and settling on a roughened surface, changing as it mixed and dried.” He was drawn to close-valued rather than strong colors and often allowed his pale warm grounds to serve as colors in their own right rather than acting as supports for other colors. Karen Wilkin stated in Color as Field (2007): “Bannard probed just how subtle chromatic nuances could be before they became unbroken expanse.  In these pictures, even composition could be reduced to a kind of near-negative, an echo of something no longer there.” (p. 61)

Bannard created the 1976 retrospective exhibition of the work of Hans Hofmann at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC, curating the exhibition and writing the catalogue that accompanied it. He has also been an important writer on art, serving as an associate editor for Artforum and a regular contributor to Arts Magazine and Art International. His extensive publications date from the 1960s to the present. In the early 1990s, Bannard moved to Miami where he currently serves as professor and head of painting at the University of Miami, Coral Gables.

Over the course of his career, Bannard has had almost one hundred solo exhibitions and he has been included in an even greater number of group shows.  He is represented in public collections across the country as well as abroad.  Some of his museum collections include Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Dallas Museum of Art, Texas; Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Princeton University Art Museum, New Jersey; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

The opening reception will take place on Thursday, February 13 from 6 to 9 pm.  The exhibition will run through Saturday, March 15, 2014.  Berry Campbell is located in the heart of Chelsea at 530 West 24th Street on the ground floor.

For more information please contact Christine Berry or Martha Campbell at 212.924.2178, or