A researcher discovered recently that Edward Hopper copied some of his earliest paintings. No shame in that, just surprise, as artists have a long history of learning likewise. It seems fitting, then, that Terry Rosenberg has created his own spinoffs of Hopper’s oeuvre. Meant to be exhibited this fall at the Edward Hopper House Museum & Study Center, now delayed until next spring, Rosenberg’s seventy pastels reproduce the basic elements of their references, making “Automat,” “Cape Cod Morning,” and many others recognizable in form. The same cannot be said for feel: emotionally the two bodies of work are worlds apart, and Rosenberg’s gestural strokes and visceral colors make all the difference. Imagine Hopper’s subjects crossed with Francis Bacon’s agonies, then add a dash of the luridness found in Degas’s brothel scenes. Not exactly pleasant, but maybe that’s just what we need, now that Hopper’s pictures have become so iconic it’s hard to really see the anxieties hidden under their surfaces anymore.
—Lori Waxman 2020-10-19 2:49 PM