Virtual Tours of Past Exhibits
Intimate Regard : Roger Anliker, 1943–1965
On display March 20 through May 29, 2020
Intimate Regard: Roger Anliker, 1943–1965
Intimate Regard celebrates the work of Akron native Roger Anliker (1924–2013), an influential teacher and artist whose body of work is remarkable for its riveting subjects, technical virtuosity, evocative beauty, and incredible singularity.
Anliker’s long and distinguished career began at the Cleveland Institute of Art, from which he graduated in 1948, following a stint in the Army as a mapmaker, and a course of study at the American University in Biarritz in 1945. From 1948–1963, he was a professor of painting and drawing at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh (now Carnegie Mellon). In 1963, Anliker became a professor in the Department of Painting and Graphic Art at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art, a position he held until his retirement in 1998. Threaded throughout these five decades is a significant legacy of awards—including two Guggenheim Fellowships—important solo and group exhibitions across the country and in Europe—at venues such as the Whitney Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris—and a body of work that is breathtaking in scope as well as subject.
The twenty-four paintings in Intimate Regard explore the early years of Anliker’s career. The exhibition begins with several portraits, landscapes, and a nude study from the 1940s, all of which reveal the artist’s technical mastery in the articulation of physical forms, and his ability to harness the power of color, shadow, and light to amplify the emotional and psychological impact of his subjects. The dramatic and moody brilliance of Firefly, a gouache completed in 1949, pays homage to Charles Burchfield, whose work Anliker admired.
Like most of his contemporaries midcentury, Anliker was concerned with representation. But whereas most artists chose to align themselves on either side of realism or abstraction, Anliker found such positions irrelevant. Anemone and Sunflowers, completed around 1954, recalls Van Gogh with its emotional intensity and vegetal forms that vibrate in and out of the realm of perception. Each subsequent work in the exhibition hovers in this liminal space between realism and abstraction, continually probing and expanding our understanding of the boundaries between them. Often, as in the case with paintings from the mid-1950s such as Star Pool, the work seems at first wholly abstract; or, as in Biarritz Cliffs, initially appear to be representational. Yet, once you are drawn into these paintings, the boundaries blur and definitions shift. Ultimately, Anliker encourages us to question whether such boundaries exist at all.
Anliker’s paintings also challenge the boundaries of time. The miracle of thematic mystery that is Eye of Dragonfly, which ends the show, took thirty years to complete. These are not pictures to which you give a mere glance before moving on to the next one in line; they demand and command your attention. And your attention will be richly rewarded.