Texts by Heinz Liesbrock and Michael Sempff
James Bishop (born in 1927 in Neosho, Missouri, USA) has lived in Blévy near Paris since the late 1950s. He is one of the most sensitive of US lyrically Abstract painters; he even calls himself a “quiet kind of Abstract Expressionist”. Bishop developed his very own idiom that is almost unparalled by any other of his generation. In his style we can strongly sense his enthusiasm for the culture of color and the spirit of European painting from the early Italians to Cézanne, Matisse as well as Bonnard and Morandi.
In the small paper works of the last three decades we can see how the transparency and compactness of the fluid color gives rise to ambiguous spatial properties, which slowly develop out of the tonal base color, while offering our perception no firm foothold – this is reminiscent of the approach he takes in his paintings. The partly strict structuring of the surface of the paper works seems to be inspired by impressions of landscape or architecture. The concentration on seemingly monochrome shades unfolds a wealth of the finest of color nuances, which bear evidence of exclusive modesty and are visually very effective.
The artist’s 80th birthday is only the outward occasion for this publication, which contains a selection of his works on paper from the early 1960s until today, complemented by a few of his paintings.