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Jack Wolfe: Beyond the Known – An American Artist’s Legacy Revisited
November 13 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pmFree
Exhibition opening November 13th, 2021, 6-9pm
246 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
On November 13th, CK Contemporary will open its exhibition Jack Wolfe: Beyond the Known, the first major retrospective for Wolfe since his death in 2007, and the first exhibition since the gallery’s announcement of its exclusive representation of the Wolfe estate. Wolfe (1924-2007) was a pioneering American artist who consistently created bold, passionate, and expressive artwork. Art History’s standard narrative often excludes purists and separatists who were unwilling to navigate the priorities of the commercial market, and in the case of Jack Wolfe, it doesn’t fully acknowledge an artist who had a different concept of success. CK Contemporary is working directly with the Wolfe estate to help bring this artist’s significant legacy back to light. We feel that it is our duty to tell the story of Jack Wolfe and advocate for the scholarship and attention his artwork deserves.
Wolfe is commonly associated with the Boston Expressionists, however his varied body of work does not neatly fit into a single category. He combines cubist, abstract expressionist, and hard-edge techniques with rich colors and an acute sense for emotional pitch. Wolfe earned early recognition, and in the 1950s, was included in several group and solo museum exhibitions, with work on display alongside artists such as Pollock, Calder, and Frankenthaler. With his artwork added to the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and the deCordova Museum, Wolfe was poised to become a successful mainstay of the New York art scene. However, after only four months there, Wolfe became disillusioned with an overtly commercial “art system” to which he was unwilling to bend his creative vision. He returned to Massachusetts, cleared land in rural Stoughton and built a home and studio where he began his lifelong commitment to creating a significant body of work, consisting of expressive and compelling abstractions, emotionally charged portraits and powerful political paintings.
Although he refused to pursue a traditional version of fame, Wolfe’s artwork remains a salient reminder of his unique ability to transform a canvas into a magnificent new universe. As Wolfe said himself, “It is the quality of adventure that delights me about painting. When I was a little boy, I wanted to be an explorer, and when you are faced with a canvas six feet by eight feet, the possibilities for discovering are so great. This is an infinite expanse.”