Looking across the country at work by his contemporaries in New York, the San Francisco-born artist David Park (1911–1960) threw himself into Abstract Expressionism. But at 38, frustrated one day by his whimsical nonfigurative lines, he loaded up his canvases and took them to the dump. Park began painting pictures. “I have found that in accepting and immersing myself in subject matter I paint with more intensity,” he explained, “and that the ‘hows’ of painting are more inevitably determined by the ‘whats.’” That fateful day the Bay Area Figurative Art movement was born. In the 1950s and 60s, Park would be joined by Richard Diebenkorn, Rex Ashlock, Elmer Bischoff, Glenn Wessels, Wayne Thiebaud, and James Weeks. Celebrating those years, this exhibition presents 127 of Park’s paintings and works on paper, including the boldly executed compositions for which he is best known. —E.C.
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