JAM

Norman Lewis

Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York (JAM3)

Norman Lewis, Untitled, 1974, ink on paper, 73.5 × 58.5 cm. Courtesy: Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York

Norman Lewis, Untitled, 1974, ink on paper, 73.5 × 58.5 cm. Courtesy: Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York

Norman Lewis (b. 1909, died 1979).

Known for his dynamic abstract compositions, Norman Lewis was a vital member of the first generation of abstract expressionists. Lewis’s art derived energy from his vast interests in music – both classical and jazz – as well as nature, ancient ceremonial rituals, and social justice issues central to the civil rights movement.

Michael Rosenfeld Gallery presents the work of Norman Lewis, featuring paintings and works on paper created during the last decade of the artist’s life, reflecting two distinctive elements of Lewis’ abstract expressionist practice–calligraphic and atmospheric abstraction. A 1973 painting–one of two exhibited in the 1974 JAM exhibition Synthesis: A combination of parts or elements into a complex whole–will be on view, along with works from the same period that typify Lewis’ signature abstractions and masterful use of color, line and form.

A native of Harlem and a founding member of the Spiral Group, Norman Lewis pursued abstraction throughout his career while remaining committed to his political beliefs. His work is represented in over 50 public collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Museum of Modern Art; Smithsonian American Art Museum; Whitney Museum of American Art, and in 2015 was the subject of a comprehensive museum survey organized by the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia.