Darby Bannard’s recent paintings are direct, visceral and powerful, the same qualities that imbued his work when hestarted his career as a young artist in New York over 50 years ago. Bannard was one of the original Minimalist painters celebrated in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. He showed in the groundbreaking exhibitions Post Painterly Abstraction at the LA County Museum, and The Responsive Eye and Art of the Realat the Museum of Modern Art in New York alongside the most important artists of the period including Sam Francis, Helen Frankenthaler, Ellsworth Kelly, Morris Louis, Jules Olitski and Frank Stella.
In the late 1960’s his simple minimalist forms dissolved into pale, atmospheric fields of color applied with rollers and paint-soaked rags. By 1970 he had begun to use the new acrylic mediums and his paintings evolved into expanses of richly colored gels and polymers. Ever the innovator, he pioneered the use of new tools and application methods, applying paint with squeegees and commercial floor brooms, practices he continues today. Bannard has had over one hundred solo shows and is represented in the collections of all the major New York museums and most other important museums around the world. The influential New York art critic Clement Greenberg wrote:
“Walter Darby Bannard is one of the best painters working in the world today.”
Currently Bannard is Professor of Painting of the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Miami. The Center is grateful to the artist for his assistance and for providing unfettered access to his studio and archive in organizing and presenting this exhibition.