This week we welcome Allan Gorman, a painter based in West Orange, New Jersey. Gorman’s artwork takes the viewer on a journey into the unusual shapes and tensions created by light and shadow on urban structures, machines and objects. With a meticulous attention to detail and a fine-tuned design sense, his intriguing compositions blur the lines between hyperrealism and abstraction.
Gorman’s artworks have been exhibited in museums and galleries including, the Arnot Museum, Elmira, New York; Springfield Museum of Art, Springfield, Ohio; Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London, Connecticut, Albany Museum of Art, Albany, New York; the New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, New Jersey; Anthony Brunelli Fine Arts, Binghamton, New York; Rehs Contemporary, New York City; Garvey|Simon, New York City; Nicole Longnecker Gallery, Houston; and CK Contemporary in San Francisco. His work is to be included in the Hyp’Art Project—a survey of hyperrealist art to be held in Brussels, in 2024.
Gorman is a two-time recipient of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts fellowship for painting; and has held resident fellowships at the Vermont Studio Center and ESKFF at Mana Contemporary. He is a recipient of the Pioneer of Realism award from the International Guild of Realism. Gorman was selected as one of the 100 grandmasters of realist art by the Salon Des Beaux Arts.
“I’m drawn to the hidden abstract patterns, random shapes and aesthetic tensions I find in real objects—particularly within the confines of industrial structures. Although my paintings appear photorealistic, the focus isn’t necessarily on photorealism itself, but rather on the plays of light and shadow, the dance between colors, shapes and contrasts, and overall composition. In this way, I think of my works as abstract paintings in the guise of realism, and I use this criteria to inform my choices of what to paint.
“I’ve always found something mysterious, romantic and nostalgic about the power of cities, machines, night time and the edgy parts of town. I’m a child of the 50s and 60s, and have great memories of the neon lights and hustle-bustle of old NYC, when old subways had wicker seats and jazz was in the air.
“My influences were the artists of a generation or two before—the NY ashcan school artists like George Bellows, Edward Hopper, and Reginald Marsh; and photographers like Paul Strand, Richard Avedon and Irving Penn. And then, when photorealism and the west-coast artists first came on the scene in the mid 60s and early 70s, I was immediately drawn to the work of Richard Estes, Robert Cottingham, Wayne Thiebaud, of course Richard Diebenkorn, and others who could—within the confines of a two-dimensional plane—tell a compelling story about their time and society; things I seem to relate to. While acknowledging my predecessors, I’m certainly not trying to imitate them. Although their influence is noticeable in my work, I strive to create art that is unique and interesting enough to make its own statement.”