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New York, NY – Beginning June 29, 2023, Forum Gallery presents At First Blush, an exhibition of paintings and drawings, each of which is more than it first seems.  These provocative works invite the viewer to create their own story and frame of reference for the subject the artist depicts.  Something is happening, has just happened or is anticipated in every work, but that something is not explicit, it is up to us to define. 

Raphael Soyer’s Nude with Self-Portrait, 1961, the earliest work in the show, is about an artist and his model, but there’s more to it than just the fact he’s painting her; while Alyssa Monks’ Be Perfectly Still and Selective Perception, two of the most recent, both from 2021, exhibit psychologically charged expressions of the female experience.  William Beckman’s Marseille (Bathers), 2017-23, imagines a relationship between two women that’s undefined while Steven Assael’s Susan with Dog, 1994, suggests a very different kind of relationship.  Two women are again the subject of Philip Pearlstein’s masterful Two Models with Bedouin Rug, 1987; while Alan Feltus shows another, intimately personal, relationship in The Best of Times, 2007.  These fully human, highly charged works may not have the same meaning to any two viewers, but everyone will bring their background, dreams and thoughts to each work.

The clarity of Guillermo Munoz Vera’s Zara, 2017, in which a shopper shops while we observe from a distance, is matched by the opacity of Paul Fenniak’s Man with Collapsible Umbrella, 2012-13; and Offshore, 2011, that set scenes of dream-like mystery.  Individual figures in With the Stones, 1999, one of Richard Maury’s most masterly paintings, and Woman on Red Background, 1967-68, by Gregory Gillespie, are shown in a context that compels imagination and presents intrigue. 

Arresting for the unapologetic directness of their subjects are Susan Hauptman’s Self-Portrait (La Perla #1), 2006; Kent Bellow’s Megan: October 1995, 1995; Bill Vuksanovich’s, Woman with a Scar, 2001; and Nelson Shanks’ Grace, 1996; while ambiguity is Clio Newton’s subject in Harper, 2019. Each work cries out for us to supply our personal narrative, a story we think of when we see the work.

At First Blush will be on view from June 29 to September 23, 2023.  Forum Gallery is open Monday through Friday, 10 AM to 5:30 PM, and closed Saturday and Sunday during June, July and August. 

You are invited to explore our Online Viewing Room for At First Blush here:


Forum Gallery is located at 475 Park Avenue at 57th Street, New York, NY 10022. Please visit to view the entire exhibition online. The exhibition begins on June 29 and will be on view through September 23, 2023. Forum Gallery‘s summer hours are Monday through Friday, 10am to 5:30pm. The gallery is closed Saturdays, Sundays and holidays through the Labor day Weekend.

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