Eugene Newmann, a pioneering artist of the New Mexico abstract art scene, presents Abstraction and Figuration at Pie Projects in Santa Fe.
Eugene Newmann: Abstraction and Figuration
August 20–September 17, 2022
artist talk and reception: August 27, 4-6 pm
Pie Projects, Santa Fe
Eugene Newmann has long been regarded as one of the pioneering artists of the New Mexico abstract art scene. He is well known in the Santa Fe art community for being a “painter’s painter,” drawing admiration from many of his peers.
With the solo exhibition Abstraction and Figuration, Pie Projects gallery presents a selection of works by Newmann, including paintings ranging from 1976 to 1978, such as Neighboring Constellations—which was exhibited at the iconic Santa Fe Armory Show—and recent landscape-inspired abstractions such Arroyo and works on paper from the Postures series.
Through his creative process, Newmann explores and mediates complex and contradictory dynamics; he maintains a dialogue between the deep space of Old Master paintings and the modernist flat picture plane. In his richly reworked surfaces, he blurs the distinction between figuration and abstraction. If there ever was a clear distinction between those genres in his work, it has disappeared.
“I don’t know that there’s a useful distinction to make,” says Newmann. “I started painting in the mid-1950s. At that point, you had to declare. How were you going to approach making an image? There were just a ton of propositions, and it was something to develop. I can’t figure that some kind of ideological position is going to be the ticket to a new image for me.”
Newmann’s Czechoslovakian heritage (he was born in Bratislava, now the capital of Slovakia), his life in Colombia, where Spanish was his first language, his traditional Jewish upbringing in New York City after age ten, and his education in mathematics and physics at the University of Chicago make him an artist of unusual breadth of knowledge and experience. He moved to Santa Fe with his wife, artist Dana Newmann, in 1972. Since then, Newmann has become known as a central figure in New Mexico’s abstract art world.
His work is represented in numerous private and public collections, including the New Mexico Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Albuquerque, the Capitol Art Foundation Collection in Santa Fe, the Roswell Museum and Art Center, the Monterey Peninsula Museum of Art, the Tucson Museum of Art, and the U.S. Department of State Art Bank. He received the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2008.