In my view Jim Gilbert is one of the most talented of America’s new generation of painters. Not only has he affiliated himself with the new movement in the United States but he has also become deeply identified with European traditional art. Since he comes from New Mexico it is understandable that his work also reflects the spirit and theme of New Mexican Indian art. There is also a strong and important underlying theme of music and musicians in his work and development. His strength lies in an enormous sense of fantasy which vision is assisted by a strong abstract foundation. With that he is able to evoke an underlying cause of existence in his work…..here is a tremendous talent evolving…Gilbert’s work is extraordinary.
Free translation from the German of a review of early figurative work by Dr. Adolf Jannasch, Director 20th Century Museum, Berlin, Germany
BLUE AT GILBERT’S
Jim Gilbert’s studio (740 Galisteo) will be open to the public again this afternoon, and it is worth a visit to see a new kind of non-objective painting and sculpture. The brilliant color in both paintings and sculpture is startling at first, but after a time one sees a skillful manipulation of color and design, combined with a very personal and emotional approach.
It is a showing of perhaps twenty paintings, from small to giant size, Mr. Gilbert almost never repeats himself in the total composition nor in its parts. A bright blue recurs like a theme through the flat pattern of the painting, sometimes in stark contrast to yellow, sometimes in more subtle connotations with greens, reds, or violets. There is freshness here, directness with an almost child-like simplicity. Yet it is a disciplined simplicity. This is not an attempt at primitive art, an effort to recapture primitive motivations. It seems rather to be reaching out for the more humanistic values, to be separating tem from the excesses and sophistries of 20th century civilization.
Gilbert’s sculpture says the same thing, still thoughtfully, but more joyfully. These are wondrously inventive forms painted in candy colors. They look like nothing you have ever seen before. But suddenly you remember the circus lparade… the marvelous castle built in the sand.
Others may see less in Mr. Gilbert’s work-or they may see more. But surely they cannot fail to see that Jim Gilbert is offering us something new-something clean, honest and creative-something that sticks in the memory and won’t quite let go.
Review of Exhibition by Maggy Packard in “The New Mexican”
REVIEW OF THE ARTIST (re Dixon Studio Tour)
One of Dixon’s newest arrivals is painter Jim Gilbert. A native New Mexican, Gilbert recently returned from 20 years in Los Angeles, where he taught photography, film and human development courses at the University of Southern California and other schools.
On entering his studio, Gilbert’s work may strike a double vision, if his computer screen is illuminated. He uses an Amiga computer as an electronic sketchpad.
“There’s confusion with computer art,” Gilbert says. “I use the computer as a tool, an assist, not as the total medium.”
After transferring his mental image onto the screen, Gilbert uses a series of software programs to refine the shapes and lines.
The Fun begins when he chooses from a palette of more than 4,000 colors. Gilbert colors his images directly on the screen creating a guide for painting canvas.
His computer imagery sets Gilbert apart from most contemporary painters. In Starlight, a series of acrylic works, pigments range from shades of gray to brilliant orange, red and yellow or subdued aqua and green. Each painting maintains a grid of nine squares filled with what appears to be the primordial soup.
Be it Evolution & Involution or Homage to a Cosmic Chicken in Dixon, Gilbert’s work has a genesis of its own.
“I turned to computers last year when I became very dissatisfied with standard media [for studies]. It was impossible to change colors or design as quickly as I needed to.” He says.
My works are multi-dimensional in spirit. I give many three titles. One relates to its form, one to its quality and one to its essence. My recent paintings are a serenade to New Mexico and my deep childhood roots,” Gilbert says.
Annie Osburn, Santa Fe, New Mexico