John Seery is an American painter associated with the movement of Lyrical Abstraction. Born 1941 in Maspeth, New York, his paintings are among some of the first to be referred to as works of Lyrical Abstraction. Other major influencers in the movement include artists such as Dan Christensen, Ronnie Landfield, Sam Francis and Mark Rothko.
Education and Career
As stated, Seery was born in 1941 in Maspeth, New York. After the artist’s birth, his family relocated to Flushing, Ohio where Seery spent much of his childhood. During his adolescence, Seery’s family moved once more, this time it was to Cincinnati, Ohio. From 1959-1963, Seery attended the Miami University in Ohio. After this, Seery went on to finish his studies at the Ohio State University in Columbus, graduating in 1964.
The artist’s first solo exhibition was in 1970 at the André Emmerich Gallery in New York. From 1971 up until 1981 Seery also exhibited at the Richard Gray Gallery in Chicago, Illinois.
Seery’s paintings have been featured in many exhibitions worldwide and his art has been featured in public collections at some of the most famous art museums, such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the National Gallery of Australia and the Museum of Fine Arts, to name just a few.
After achieving great success with his paintings in America, the artist went on to promote himself globally. Seery held exhibitions at two galleries in Zürich, Switzerland. The first gallery being the Galerie André Emmerich where the artist exhibited in 1975 and the second gallery was the Peter Noser Galerie, where the artist held exhibitons in 1982 and 1986, respectively. In 1997, Seery had another exhibition at Kunsthaus Richterswil gallery located in Richterswil, also in Switzerland. Apart from his exhibitions in Switzerland, Seery was also featured in an exhibition that showed in Sydney, Australia, the exhibition, titled 10 Americans, was held at at Gallery A.
But the artist hasn’t stopped only at artistic endeavors, Seery has also taken to teaching. He’s worked as an Associate Professor at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston and also worked as a visiting lecturer at Harvard University during the 1980s.
After a long hiatus, Seery’s work could be seen in America once more during his 2010 exhibition at the Garboushian Gallery in Beverly Hills, California. Heriar Garboushian, owner of the Garboushian Gallery noted that Seery’s work left a powerful impression on him, noting that the only other artist that had the same kind of effect on him was Mark Rothko. At the time of the exhibition, titled John Seery, the Garboushian Gallery was still fairly new and while most of Seery’s earlier works were done using acrylic paint, the artist took to using oil paint for his new works that featured at the 2010 exhibition.
More About Lyrical Abstraction
American Lyrical Abstraction was first recognized as an art movement in the 1960s and 70s. The term was used by Larry Aldrich, founder of the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum when he noted similar styles present in the paintings various artists. Artworks that can accurately be described as works of Lyrical Abstraction tend to deviate from the tendencies that are prevalent in movements such as Abstract Expressionism, Cubism and Surrealism.
One of the main characteristics separating the movement or Lyrical Abstraction from other modern, post-war movements, has been the shift away from the clean lines and shapes that are commonly associated with these minimalistic movements. Instead, Lyrical Abstraction is known for the freedom of expression in which its artists indulge in.
An exhibition aptly titled Lyrical Abstraction was held first at Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in 1970 after which it was moved to the Whitney Museum of Contemporary Art in 1971. Seery’s work was featured in this exhibition which was largely viewed as the birth of a movement within modern art.
In an interview with Whitewall Magazine in 2010, Seery described the rise of his chosen movement as follows “Many at the time thought Lyrical Abstraction was reaction against some previous form of painting, but in reality it was an affirmation of painting. Rather than attacking the painting from the outside, it was more of an entering into or inhabiting the painting.”