The good life
Local painter Alan Post is 90 years old. At that age, most people would be done with real living, spending the remainder of their days reflecting. But not Post. The evidence is in his paintings. Their subjects alone show a person who has spent a considerable time in Europe throughout the last century, someone who has spent a great deal of energy reflecting on painters of the past and present. Post is an artist who has not rested on any small successes, but instead has painted, learned and grown. And now the nonagenarian painter is in a choice position, living the good life and reaping the rewards of time well-spent. This month, a show at the Solomon Dubnick Gallery, aptly titled Alan Post at 90, makes the point clearly.
Post is very much a formalist as well as an expressionist. His paintings focus clearly on the structural elements of a painting—composition, color, shape, line, etc. These things matter a lot to Post, and it’s easy to see from whom he’s robbed skills. The angles and viewpoints of his images are as carefully thought out as those of Edgar Degas; his sophisticated color palette isn’t dissimilar to Giorgio De Chirico’s; and not only are the picture planes flattened with the presence of strong black outlines, like in the paintings of Paul Cézanne, but, also, bowls of apples pop up in many of Post’s images.
But it is Post’s subjects and style that ultimately prove to be more appealing than the structures. Post paints everything from a portrait of a cellist to a studio still life to a rooftop skyline with equal fluidity, yet all of these paintings have an equal moody intrigue. You just know that every object is a metaphor and that every flat, blank stare has a meaning. And, on top of this, Post has reached one of the finest achievements any artist of his experience could wish for—timelessness. But one gets the feeling that, these days, after a lifetime of successes, instead of simply going through the motions of painting, Post feels like he’s finally collected some of the most important information in life and now can begin to paint.