Pavel Zoubok Gallery invites you to a solo exhibition featuring Abstract Expressionist painter-turned hard-edged abstractionist, Fritz Bultman (1919-1985), whose collages of painted papers build upon and extend the aesthetics of Henri Matisse’s pioneering “cut-outs.”
On view in the main space are large-scale paintings and collages from the 1960s and ‘70s by New Orleans native Fritz Bultman. His bold, free form collages, richly saturated in primary colors, made their first appearance in the 1960s and are an extension of his sculpture and painting practice. The play between tightly delineated form and painterly gesture reflect the poles of European modernism and Abstract Expressionism that would continue to define Bultman’s work. Critic Douglas Crimp describes his collages as “reminiscent of the late Matisse in their monumental size (some are eight feet high), sensuous shapes and exuberant red, blue and gold acrylic colors.” Bultman’s process involved painting entire drawing pads with unmixed primary colors and then piecing together countless fragments, employing cut and torn edges in unexpected ways. Like many collagists he reveled in the obsessive placement of his materials before committing to a final composition, a practice similarly employed by his colleague, friend and neighbor, Robert Motherwell. Bultman writes, “I began to work anew in collage from a center outward, rather than working on the confines of a sheet of paper. By adding piece to piece I find a means to give me a collage of random shape through random growth.” The results are abstract works that are confrontational in their assertive use of line and color, and often suggest figuration in their sensuous curves and rejection of the rectilinear picture plane.
Fritz Bultman studied at the New Bauhaus in Chicago and extensively with Hans Hofmann in New York City and Provincetown, Massachusetts, two cities where he lived and worked from the early 1940s until his death in 1985. By the late 1940s, Bultman was exhibiting with other Abstract Expressionists at New York’s Kootz Gallery, and by 1950 was associated with the group of New York School artists, famously referred to by Life magazine as the “Irascibles.” His work is in numerous public and private collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Corcoran Gallery, among others. During the Civil Rights movement he was involved in forming an art collection for Tougaloo College, a historically black liberal arts institution in Mississippi. He was also a founding member of the Long Point Gallery in Provincetown. In 1993, his work was celebrated with the exhibition, Fritz Bultman: A Retrospective, at the New Orleans Museum of Art.