ROSENBERG & CO. is pleased to present Jeffrey Wasserman: Selected Works of the Eighties and Nineties, an exhibition focused on paintings and works on paper from two decades by the artist Jeffrey Wasserman. The exhibition marks the first showing of Wasserman’s work in New York since his death in 2006.
Over the course of his career, Wasserman dedicated himself to a highly personal and complex exploration of the meaning of painting. Bringing together a number of important artworks, the exhibition traces the evolution of Wasserman’s distinctive form of abstraction through two critical decades in his career. With their vibrant colors, cascading layers of paint washes, and hovering motifs formed from an intricate and idiosyncratic method of stenciling, Wasserman’s works reveal his deep engagement with the emotive potential of color, facture, and form.
In the early 1980s, as he became a part of the emergent East Village scene, Wasserman exhibited frequently. During the decade, Wasserman developed an inventory of enigmatic abstract motifs that became ubiquitous throughout his work. Swirling lines, floral forms, and floating celestial orbs occupied Wasserman’s canvases, such as with the sinuous shapes in The Garden Gate (1987). In the early 1990s, Wasserman left the city and moved upstate. In his works from this decade, Wasserman exchanges translucent, atmospheric washes of color for dense layers of impasto, as seen in Night Life (1992) and Cowboys and Indians (1990).
Wasserman’s enduring engagement with the properties and problems of painting led patrons and artists to refer to him with admiration as a “painter’s painter.” His unrelenting faith in the possibilities of painting, his fascination with color and form, and his drive to explore and move beyond what is comfortable and known—all imbue his work with a lasting resonance and a language that only deepens with time; a language that can be found in the paintings and works on paper in this exhibition.
JEFFREY WASSERMAN (b. 1946, Westchester County, NY, d. 2006, Millerton, NY) was born to parents who were first-generation Americans, both of Russian Jewish descent. As a young boy, Wasserman discovered a copy of Art Treasures of the Louvre that inspired his earliest interests in art. After studying with the Color Field painter Friedel Dzubas, he attended the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, receiving his BFA in Painting in 1968. In 1969 he attended the Royal College of Art, where he studied with Francis Bacon. Subsequently, the abstract painter Edward Avedisian hired Wasserman as a studio assistant, positioning him at the heart of Soho during the 1970s. In 1992, Wasserman moved to upstate New York, where he continued to paint until his death in 2006.