Ben Wilson: From Social Realism to Abstraction
This is the first exhibition to show the artist's development over the whole of his career, and to highlight the Ben and Evelyn Wilson Foundation's gift in 2012 of an archive and cache of works to Montclair State University.
Ben Wilson (1913-2001) was an artist whose formative years spanned the Great Depression and the Second World War. He was a Jewish, Philadelphia-born New Yorker who in his late thirties left the city for Ridgefield, New Jersey, and then moved out to Blairstown near the Delaware Water Gap. He taught painting throughout his whole career, in the most committed sense, first in the New Deal under the Works Progress Administration (WPA), then privately and for many institutions in the region. He made a go at the New York art world and then withdrew. He began as a card-carrying Social Realist with an axe to grind, came to maturity during the height of the Abstract Expressionist movement, and ended as an American original, pursuing a uniquely rigorous and emphatically painted abstraction.
Curated by Professor Jason Rosenfeld, PhD, Marymount Manhattan College