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The Early Years

In 1965, while employed as an engraver, I felt there was a void in my life. I realized a need to express myself through art. I could not afford the time and money to consider going to art school, therefore my approach to painting would be by trial and error, thus making every painting an art lesson.

I became my own harshest critic. The first few years, I studied in depth the materials and technique of oil painting and still working full time to support my family. I would paint at night and on weekends. One day, I approached my employer with the idea of allowing me to work only 4 full days a week and yet in turn I would guarantee him five days work for four days pay. How could he refuse such an offer when it was advantageous for him? Yet I also gained by now having three full days of painting each week.

Today's Special
Oil on Panel, 8 x 17 inches
Collection: New Britain Museum of American Art, CT

Like many young artists, I was searching for a style and subjects which would be suitable for my needs, which has always been to express ideas. In 1967, I discovered the Trompe l’oeil school of painting which immediately interested me. I felt that inanimate objects are universally identifiable and people can relate to objects. I also felt that objects when juxtaposed in a composition could help convey an idea. Thus I began to work in the style of Trompe l’oeil painting.

In 1969, I began reevaluating the small volume of work I created to date in that visual idiom. Then I asked myself a question. Do I want to be a follower of the 19th Century Trompe l’oeil Painters or do I want to be an innovator and find my own identity?

Staff of Life
Oil onCanvas, 11 x 14 inches
Collection of the Artist

Obviously, I choose my own path. I studied the common thread which links 19th Century Trompe l’oeil artists and decided to remove objects from their natural surroundings via levitation. I then began to create paintings with objects not related in reality and yet when juxtaposed within a composition would stimulate the mind.

In 1969, I coined the term “Levitational Realism” and 1970 was the beginning of a new direction and to this day, my work continues to evolve.

Painting is a long journey.


Inanimate Finale
Oil on Canvas. 60 x 48 inches
Private Collection
Summer Prelude
Oil on Canvas, 60 x 45 inches
Private Collection
Cosmic Mortals
Oil on Canvas, 66 x 32 inches
Private Collection
Pressure of Time
Oil on Canvas, 29 x 23 inches
Vertebrea
Oil on Canvas, 74 x 58 inches
Private Collection
Cycle
Oil on Canvas, 29 x 23 inches
Whereabouts Unknown

 

Contact
g_erbe@msn.com