Installation of Paul Feeley's work at the Matthew Marks Gallery in 2002
Des Moines, Iowa
New York City, New York
|Movement||Color Field painting|
At Bennington College, he was fundamental in establishing its art department. Committed to the art of his contemporaries, he exposed his students — Helen Frankenthaler among them — to many of the most significant artists of his time. He helped to organize the first retrospective exhibition of modernist sculptor David Smith, in 1951 and helped with the 1955 Hans Hofmann and the 1952 Jackson Pollock retrospectives which were both organized by Clement Greenberg. Feeley and Greenberg also organized a Kenneth Noland Exhibition at Bennington in 1961.
Feeley was also an important Color Field painter and in the early 1960s he was included in the catalog and exhibition called Post-Painterly Abstraction organized by Clement Greenberg in 1964. Feeley had his first full scale retrospective (held posthumously) at the Matthew Marks Gallery, 2002 in New York City.
His paintings are characterized by bright colors; simple, abstract forms; and symmetrically arranged, but serene, compositions. Clement Greenberg included Feeley’s work in his exhibition Emerging Talent at the Kootz Gallery in 1954, alongside other Color-Field painters like Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland. Critics have argued that his work is distinct from Color Field painting in its classical rigor and forms, whether derived from ancient Greek and Moorish decorative patterns or Cycladic and Egyptian statues. Art critic Gene Baro argued that the Color Field classification was in certain ways inappropriate. He saw Feeley's work as something wholly independent and not dialectically related to the Abstract Expressionist legacy - "in the way that Baroque art is remote from ancient Egyptian art and presumes different standards of value and habits of mind."
Paul Feeley was a veteran of more than 18 solo exhibitions in important contemporary galleries and dozens of group exhibitions in important museums. During the late 1950s through the mid-1960s he was represented by the Tibor de Nagy Gallery, and then the Betty Parsons Gallery in New York City where he had nine solo exhibitions. He also had exhibitions of his paintings and sculpture in London at the Kasmin Gallery and at the Nicholas Wilder Gallery in Los Angeles.
Recently, he has been the feature of solo shows at the Jablonka Galerie, 2006; Lawrence Markey, 2007; the Bennington Museum, 2008; the Matthew Marks Gallery, 2008 and Garth Greenan Gallery, 2012. Feeley’s work is held in major museum collections around the world including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.
- [http://www.hanshofmann.org/chronology Hans Hofmann Estate:In 1955 Clement Greenberg organizes a small retrospective of Hofmann's paintings at Bennington College in Vermont.
- Exhibition Catalog; Kirk Varnedoe with Pepe Karmel, Jackson Pollock, The Museum of Modern Art, 1999, Chronology, by Elizabeth Levine and Anna Indych p.327
- Grace Glueck, NY Times: ART REVIEW; During a 60's Interlude, Color Was the Content; January 30, 1998
- Post-Painterly Abstraction artist bios retrieved online July 21, 2008
- Greenberg essay, retrieved online July 21, 2008
- Paul Feeley, Painting and Sculpture, New York: Matthew Marks Gallery, 2002. (Henceforward as Feeley 2002)
- Gene Baro, "Paul Feeley: The Art of the Definite", Arts Magazine, February 1966. Excerpted in (Feeley 2002, pg. 80)