Stanley Boxer | Gradations | Paintings from 1976 to 1984


Info: Stanley Boxer | Gradations | Paintings from 1976 to 1984, Apr 19 - May 19, 2018



NEW YORK, NEW YORK, April 11, 2018 – Berry Campbell Gallery is pleased to announce the special exhibition “STANLEY BOXER: GRADATIONS” from April 19 through May 19, 2018. Berry Campbell will present a curated selection of paintings from 1976 to 1984 that have been described by Karen Wilkin as “at once lyrical and brutal, aggressively physical and ineffably elusive.” This is Berry Campbell’s second solo exhibition of Stanley Boxer. The opening reception for “Stanley Boxer: Gradations” is Thursday, April 19 from 6 to 8pm.

Throughout his four-decade-long career, Stanley Boxer (1926–2000) broke through the barriers that often divided the artists of his day. In the 1960s, he was deemed a Color Field painter, but at the time he was already moving toward the material specificity of process art, building dense surfaces with unexpected additives, such as sand, glitter, sawdust, wood shavings, and dressmaker’s beads. However, Boxer stopped short of letting his materials speak for themselves. More interested in the end result than in his process or materials, in his art, he expressed his love for intense optical he sought to create new forms that could excite the eye.

Boxer found a common ground among the competing ideologies of his time, while maintaining his distinctive artistic identity. His paintings, sculptures, and collages can be linked to contemporary currents, but throughout he maintained a commitment to creating surfaces characterized by intense radiance and nuance, designed with “a kind of choreography of material,” as described in Arts Magazine by Judith Van Baron in 1974.

It is interesting to read the substantial body of criticism of Boxer’s work for its conflicting viewpoints. To some critics, Boxer demonstrated minimalist tendencies—in his striving for directness, for example. To others, he was gargantuan in his inclusiveness—incorporating into his work anything he could get his hands on. Whereas one critic described his art as demonstrating a luminosity that evokes a “tranquil, almost spiritual” quality, another related his work to the drama of Baroque art, in the way that he was drawing with color, using strokes that “built up to a pictorial climax.” In 2004, Grace Glueck wrote in The New York Times that Boxer’s paintings could be “read as landscapes as well as existing purely in the realm of paint.” An “artist’s artist,” Boxer created a body of work that is both cross-modal and independent, anticipating issues that were ahead of his time.

These contradictions that defined his work are readily apparent in these works from 1976 to 1984. In the 1982 catalogue for Boxer’s exhibition at André Emmerich Gallery, Karen Wilkin aptly described these works as “at once lyrical and brutal, aggressively physical and ineffably elusive.” In Roamslitheringsighsofpastoralplurge from 1978, Boxer creates a continuous field of luminous blues. Oil paint is stroked onto the canvas with inflexible, hard brushes, resulting in a rhythmic and expressive surface. These rough and irregular scales, however, keep the blues from being saccharine and overly lyrical, instead resulting in a work that is powerful in its subtlety.

By the early 1980s, Boxer explored even more contradictions within the composition and ideas of color as fields. In Sombergashofasummersprawl from 1981, Boxer covers the canvas with muscular and overlapping scales of thick oil paint, tinted with colored pastels. Wilkin described works like Sombergashofasummersprawl best in the Emmerich catalogue: “Boxer interrupts this dense continuity with small areas of vibrant colors, which float within the skin of gestures and have no density at all. The resulting passage from color to color or dark to light looks—and may be—unpremeditated, but every part of the canvas is carefully worked (a process Boxer calls ‘tuning’) in order to achieve this seeming spontaneity.”

Boxer was born in New York City and grew up in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. After serving in the Navy during World War II, he returned to New York and, with funds from the G.I. Bill, enrolled at New York’s Art Students League. From the start of his career, he was indefatigable, painting in his studio seven days a week. His first exhibition was held in 1953 at Perdalma Gallery in New York, where he also showed in 1954 and 1955. In 1968, Boxer had two solo exhibitions: one, of sculpture, at the Rose Fried Gallery in New York and the other, of paintings, at the Loeb Center, New York University. In marble and wood sculpture, he created directly carved abstract compositions in which textures and materials play expressive roles. In the years that followed, Boxer created collages, drawings, and monotypes in addition to his paintings, receiving acclaim for his work in all mediums.

Over the course of his career, Boxer delivered many lectures across the country. He held artist residencies at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada; the University of Colorado, Boulder; the Vermont Studio School, Johnston; and Kent State University, Ohio. His awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship (1975); a National Endowment for the Arts, Visual Artists Fellowship Grant (1989); and a posthumous lifetime achievement award for his contribution to the Cultural Life of Columbia County, presented by the Columbia County Council on the Arts, Hudson, New York.

Boxer’s work may be found in noted private and public collections in the United States and in other countries, including the Ackland Art Museum, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; the Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts; Indiana; the Birla Academy of Art and Culture, Calcutta, India; the Boca Raton Museum, Florida; the Columbia Museum, South Carolina; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Des Moines Art Center, Iowa; the Dayton Art Institute, Ohio; the Edmonton Art Gallery, Canada; the Everson Museum, Syracuse, New York; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University, New Jersey; the Louisiana Museum, Copenhagen; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, North Carolina; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Milwaukee Art Center, Wisconsin; the Museum of the Twentieth Century, Vienna; the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; the New Jersey State Museum, Trenton; the Power Gallery of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Santa Barbara Museum; the Singapore Art Museum; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Tate Gallery, London; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Wichita Art Museum, Kansas; and many others. 

BERRY CAMPBELL GALLERY continues to fill an important gap in the downtown art world, showcasing the work of prominent and mid-career artists. The owners, Christine Berry and Martha Campbell, share a curatorial vision of bringing new attention to the works of a selection of postwar and contemporary artists and revealing how these artists have advanced ideas and lessons in powerful and new directions.  Other artists and estates represented by the gallery are Edward Avedisian, Walter Darby Bannard, Stanley Boxer, Dan Christensen, Eric Dever, Perle Fine, Judith Godwin, Balcomb Greene, Gertrude Greene, John Goodyear, Ken Greenleaf, Raymond Hendler, Jill Nathanson, John Opper, Stephen Pace, Charlotte Park, William Perehudoff, Ann Purcell, Jon Schueler, Mike Solomon, Syd Solomon, Albert Stadler, Yvonne Thomas, Susan Vecsey, James Walsh, Joyce Weinstein, and Larry Zox. 

Berry Campbell Gallery is located in the heart of the Chelsea Arts District at 530 West 24th Street, Ground Floor, New York, NY 10011.  For information, please contact Christine Berry or Martha Campbell at 212.924.2178 or