Discipline: Visual Art – painting

James Esber

Discipline: Visual Art – painting
Region: Brooklyn, NY
MacDowell fellowships: 1992, 2001

James Esber is best known for his cartoonish, bizarrely morphed and fragmented paintings made, apparently, by applying countless little pats of Play-Doh directly to the gallery wall. In fact, he makes them on canvas in the studio using oil-based clay; for exhibitions, the canvases are seamlessly spackled onto the gallery walls. Like the paintings of Peter Saul and Philip Guston, these viscerally sensuous works plumb the polymorphously perverse depths of the American psyche.



James Esber worked in the Heinz studio.

The icehouse, built of fieldstone in 1914–1915, was a practical part of Mrs. MacDowell’s plan for a self-sufficient farm. Winter ice cut from a nearby pond was stored here for summer use on the property. Idle since 1940, it was a handsome but outdated farm building. In 1995, Mrs. Drue Heinz, a vice chairman of…

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