Abstraction, figurative art, still lifes
Media Oils, murals,
Artistic Focus Noted
for his use of vivid, lush, primary colors and his figurative abstractions,
John Emmett Gerrity saw himself as a progressive, modern artist and strove
throughout his career to find a visual idiom that was not wholly reliant
on European or other stylistic traditions. The influence of Stanton Macdonald Wright
is evident in all phases of Gerrity's work, in which he consistently
created form, depth and movement through controlled patterning and complexly
organized chromatic juxtapositions.
• John Emmett Gerrity was born in 1895 in Los
Altos, California, and in 1919 he began studying art both on his own
and at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco.
• After working in stage set design, first in the Bay Area and then in
New York, by 1926 Gerrity was back in California, teaching art from his
home and studio in Berkeley.
• Throughout this early period there was correspondence between Gerrity
and Macdonald Wright Gerrity being the foremost exponent of Synchromism
in the Bay Area.
• His work was frequently included in the Annual San Francisco Art Association
Exhibitions from 1927 to 1931.
• In 1929 Gerrity was designated director of the San Francisco branch
of the Los Angeles Art Students League, and in 1931 he wrote an art
column for the San Francisco Call Bulletin and gave a series of fifteen
lectures on color in Oakland.
• 1932 marked the opening of the first of Gerritys two one-man
shows at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, the second taking
place in 1955.
• Gerrity completed several WPA mural projects, culminating in his monumental
mural Inventions of Man at the San Francisco State Teachers College.
• Despite the fact that Gerritys health and his intensely personal artistic
vision often alienated him from the main currents of the San Francisco
art community, he worked enthusiastically through the 1970s. He passed
away in Walnut Creek, California in 1980.
Additional biographical material and full bibliographic
references are available upon request.
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