SensationsArtist(s)Prof. Gerome KamrowskiArtist NationalityAmerican (North American)Object Creation Date1944Medium & Supportoil on canvasDimensions
36 1/8 x 43 1/8 in. (91.76 x 109.54 cm);4 ft. 2 in. x 38 in. x 2 in. (127 x 96.52 x 5.08 cm)Credit LineMuseum PurchaseLabel copy
Having studied at the St. Paul School of Art in Minnesota, the Art Students League in New York, the New Bauhaus in Chicago, and the Hans Hofmann School in Provincetown, Gerome Kamrowski received a Guggenheim Fellowship and worked as a muralist for the Federal Art Project before joining the faculty of the University of Michigan in 1946. He, along with William Baziotes and Jackson Pollock, has been noted for creating work that bridged Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism. In his work of the 1930s, Kamrowski explored all avenues of Surrealism and was one of the first artists to develop "automatic painting" techniques, many of which had been inspired by his reading of the Surrealist magazine Minotaure. Kamrowski, Baziotes, and Pollock collaborated on a painting, employing such automatic painting techniques as paint dripping and pouring.
In a work such as Sensations, Kamrowski has created eerie, other-worldly, biomorphic forms reminiscent of inhabitants from a surreal place. Thin washes of color are layered one upon another, creating both real and illusory depth in this painting. Odd colors are carefully juxtaposed, adding a vibrancy that enlivens the entire composition. Floating and mysterious, these figures look out at the viewer from their shadowy world, engaging us with their haunting eyes.
Sean M. Ulmer, University Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, on the occasion of the exhibition The New York School: Abstract Expressionism and Beyond, July 20, 2002 – January 19, 2003
Kamrowski’s jewel-colored canvas combines luminous color and biomorphic, interpenetrating forms. Space becomes indeterminate, animated by the rich texture of shapes and colors as they undulate across the surface of the canvas. André Breton recognized a special quality in this young American artist from Minnesota: "Of all the young painters whose evolution I have been able to follow in New York during the last years of the war, Gerome Kamrowski is the one who has impressed me far the most by reason of the quality and sustained character of his research. . . . Kamrowski’s ambitious enterprise is to establish a cosmography of man’s inner worlds, which can only be undertaken, of course, by having constant recourse to the observation of the movement of the stars. . . . Kamrowski has been entirely concerned with the functions of absorption and liberation of energy, which largely determine bodily structures. And, unlike those who limit themselves to presenting us with the rind of these structures, Kamrowski allows us to be present at their formation."
In 1946 Kamrowski received a teaching position at the University of Michigan, where he taught until 1983.
Label copy from exhibition "Dreamscapes: The Surrealist Impulse," August 22 - October 25, 1998Physical Description
Brightly-colored image of abstract shapes in hues of blue and red with white shapes giving the pieces a shining appearance.Primary Object ClassificationPaintingCollection AreaModern and ContemporaryRights
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modern and contemporary art