The tenderness of fatherhood is a subject almost entirely ignored by painters, but Jon Imber creates out of it metaphors about vulnerability and trust, where the somnolent artist’s son is lifted, carried and cocooned by the watchful, wary parent, is slung around his neck, or floats naked and alone, like an innocent alien, over a landscape. The intertwining of father and child suggests two aspects of the same character, conscious and sub-conscious, but masterly painting for its own sake overrides the subject matter. A career survey of Imber’s vibrant paintings at the Godwin Ternbach Museum at Queens College shows an artist able to move naturally between figuration and abstraction according to the needs of the painting, without the angst it caused his teacher, Philip Guston, who bequeathed his hoard of paints to Imber. A happy combination of playfulness and knowledge, commitment to authenticity.
Palaemon: A Survey of Paintings by Jon Imber, Godwin Ternbach Museum at Queens College, May 1 to June 15, 2013. 65-30 Kissena Blvd, Flushing, New York, Tel. 718-997-4724print