David Park (1911-1960), transplanted Bostonian turned ground-breaking West Coast painter, led the way in creating what became kwn as Bay Area Figurative Art - a daring move during the post-World War II years when abstract expressionism held sway. In this beautifully illustrated biography, compiled from comprehensive and sweeping interviews, Nancy Boas traces Park's resolute search for a new kind of figuration, one that would penetrate abstract expressionism's thickly layered surfaces and infuse them with human presence. Boas changes our understanding of Park as a painter, highlighting his strong influence on Richard Diebenkorn, Elmer Bischoff, and other artists at the California School of Fine Arts and the University of California, Berkeley. She plunges us into the lively 1940s and 1950s Bay Area art scene, pointing to Park's work as a bold alternative to the abstractions of Clyfford Still. As the book deepens our admiration for Park's figurative paintings, it affirms his stature as a major figure in American art, one who spurred the figurative impulse across the United States and abroad.
Nancy Boas is the author of The Society of Six: California Colorists (UC Press) and a contributor to the exhibition and catalog Facing Eden: 100 Years of Landscape Art in the Bay Area (UC Press). She was Adjunct Curator of American Paintings at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and co-curated the exhibition California Colorists: Paintings by the Society of Six.