The Michener Art Museum presents “It’s Personal: The Art of Robert Beck,” opening July 30.
The exhibition, running through Jan. 2, focuses on Beck’s place in the storied world of the New Hope-Lambertville arts community. Beck has played an important role in advancing and expanding the region’s traditions of Impressionism and Urban Realism, with distinctive oil paintings of the people, places, and occupations of our time.
He is well known for documentary paintings, as he refers to his paintings done on site in one go. Whether single works or multi-image “visual essays,” these distinct paintings record his world much like the Pennsylvania Impressionists recorded theirs in their time.
Unlike those images, Beck describes a world that contemporary audiences recognize as their own. Viewers respond to his keen perspective on the storefronts, street corners, bars, restaurants, carnivals, basketball games, funeral homes, and parades, of their here and now.
While New York, Bucks County, and the villages along the upper coast of Maine, present subjects and contrast for his examinations, the exhibit includes work from series’ he created in the American West, Europe, and Africa.
“For more than 30 years, Beck has been an integral part of the Bucks County art community as both a leader and an iconoclast,” said curator David Leopold, who has organized the exhibition. “A generation has come to expect Beck at his easel wherever they are in the community. For the first time we have gathered paintings for all parts of his career and will present them in an installation that will also include short videos of different aspects of his work, along with audio of Beck recounting remarkable stories.”