For Maury Lapp, the world's dynamic cities are a continuing source of subject matter, full of poetic imagery for his muse. Lapp's intriguing view of the urban landscape is featured in this one-man show from February 7th through March 15th at the George Krevsky Gallery, 77 Geary Street in San Francisco.
This 82-year-old maestro may be a long-time Bay Area favorite, but he grew up and studied in the Chicago of the 30's and 40's. The city never seemed to be a rough or ominous place for Lapp. Rather, its streets provided the opportunity to witness an extraordinary variety of life experiences, with new discoveries around every corner. His fascination with urban life has never ceased.
As a friend and admirer, poet Denise Levertov has written:
He is a man obsessed with a particular place, at a particular time, painting on street corners, haunting coffee houses and bookstores, affably willing to converse with kibitzers, and yet there is an austere devotion to the formal dynamics of art, and this combination gives this work its special character.
The exhibition illustrates clearly that even at 82, Lapp continues to grow as an artist, visiting and revisiting scenes that can pull forth a memory or give a new insight to the viewer. His palette is at times "Turneresque," capturing the distinctive quality of light in locations as diverse as Chicago, Paris, New York, and San Francisco.
A cultured academic – who numbers among his admirers, not only Levertov, but also Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Herb Gold, and Robert Bly – Lapp honed his talents as a "street painter" in San Francisco. Today he focuses his themes while working in a Santa Rosa studio. His new paintings often capture now-lost views and locations, but these works are never nostalgic or sentimental. They are records of a life well lived.
Among the highlights of the current show are a marvelous painting of Harlem's Apollo Theater and its street scene, the busy Chicago River and Loop, the Manhattan skyline from the "On the Waterfront" setting of Weehawken, New Jersey, and a sensitive interpretation of a boy and his dog, based on a classic Cartier-Bresson photograph.
Lapp has exhibited in many prestigious museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago, Whitney Museum, Denver Art Museum, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. His work is included in numerous public collections, including the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Oakland Museum, and the City of Santa Rosa.