Signed and dated lower right and inscribed on the reverse
New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, Connecticut
New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, Connecticut. Gift of the Estate of George Deem, 2013. Accession Number 2013.54.91
| Image Notes
Corridor: photograph by Elliott Erwitt.
Vermeer, The Art of Painting, c. 1666-67, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna.
For 40 years, George Deem (b. 1932) has queried artistic representation in paintings that cite past masters, from Caravaggio to Gilbert Stuart, Velzquez to Whistler, Raphael to Picasso. The artist he has pursued most doggedly is Vermeer, and in his current show at Pavel Zoubok Gallery he presents 10 works that reconsider, appropriate, and otherwise play with the Dutchman's iconic compositions. The result is a series of pictorial and conceptual riffs on the history of art, perspective painting, and the enigmatic Vermeer himself that grow in richness and satisfaction the longer you contemplate them.
....The most striking work in the show, "Okay" (2006), depicts a view down a long hallway of a hospital or science facility. Track lights bisect the ceiling; well-groomed, bespectacled, lab-coat-wearing science types stand at the doorways of their regularly spaced offices, as if posing for a group portrait; the textured black-and-white floor so common in Vermeer's work becomes a dull institutional checkerboard design.
The image is rendered in one-point perspective, a simple technique of almost scientific precision that any art student can master to produce competent illusionism. But Mr. Deem has filled the center of his composition, where the vanishing point would be, with a copy of Vermeer's "The Artist's Studio." The painting stands on an easel, which improbably leans forward, defying gravity as well as the carefully orchestrated overall perspective. By examining distinctions between art and science, and the significance of following and breaking rules in the creative process, Mr. Deem's quasi-appropriation traces the elusive divide between painting that is genius and painting that is merely okay.
(David Grosz, "Getting Real, Looking Back: George Deem, Pavel Zoubok Gallery," The New York Sun, November 2, 2006).