Johns Hopkins Nov. 29
Artist and author Ted Leigh will give a slide talk titled "Material Witness: The Contribution of Fairfield Porter," at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 29, in Room 101 of the F. Ross Jones Building, Mattin Center, on The Johns Hopkins University's Homewood campus, 3400 N. Charles St. in Baltimore. The event is open to the public and admission is free. For information, call 410-516-6705. The event is sponsored by the Homewood Art Workshops and Homewood Arts Programs. Note to editors: A high resolution image of Porter's work with cutline information is available for download at http://tinyurl.com/bbyqd. Click on the folder labeled "Ted Leigh lecture on Fairfield Porter."
Porter (1907-1975) was a rarity: He was both a painter and an art critic of the first rank. An influential reviewer for ARTnews and The Nation, Porter developed a painterly realism, indebted to French Nabi artists Edouard Vuillard and Pierre Bonnard, during the ascendancy of American abstract art.
A Harvard-educated iconoclast drawn to painting and radical politics in the 1930s, Porter followed his instinct to paint what he saw for its own sake; he fiercely championed good painting regardless of style. He advocated for realists as diverse as Balthus and Isabel Bishop, and defended Robert Rauschenberg's "combine" paintings against conservative attacks. Porter was also a close friend and supporter of the New York School of Poets, including John Ashbery and James Schuyler.
A father of five who struggled to accept his bisexuality, Porter wrote letters that were an important vehicle for a man who was awkward in person. Privileged by wealth and culture but deprived emotionally when young, Porter grew in insight, openness and accomplishment until his death. He believed firmly in the necessity of attending to the "material facts" of art, poetry and life over the allure of ideas that can separate us from our experience.
Ted Leigh is a photographer and life coach who also teaches art at Villa Julie College in Stevenson, Md. He is the author of Material Witness: The Selected Letters of Fairfield Porter, published in spring 2005 by the University of Michigan Press. Leigh studied with Fairfield Porter at Amherst College in 1970, spent a year at the New York Studio School in 1972 and received his M.F.A. from Maryland Institute College of Art in 1989. He has exhibited photographs, paintings and collages nationally and is currently represented by Stepping Stone Gallery in Huntington, N.Y., and Resurgam Gallery in Baltimore. He lives on a small farm in York County, Pa.
Go to Headlines@HopkinsHome Page