For Students

Past Exhibitions: 2003

The Worlds of Gerome Kamrowski: Surrealism from the UMMA Collections

Through August 17
Apse Gallery

Gerome Kamrowski; Tears from the Eyes of Mr Horror
Gerome Kamrowski
Tears from the Eyes of Mr Horror
Oil on canvas

Whimsical and energetic, mysterious and sublime, the work of Ann Arbor artist Gerome Kamrowski has been characterized in many different ways. Constantly challenging himself as well as his viewers, Kamrowski has been engaged in a lifelong search for new and exciting ways to represent the themes that interest him. This has made it challenging to categorize or classify his work in art historical terms, but it has helped ensure its freshness and vitality. The subtle, moody, and curious colors of his work from the 1930s and 40s can still be seen in some of his mosaic and tile works from 2002. The energy created through his juxtaposition of dissimilar colors is a consistent trait in his art, as is the continuing presence of the curvilinear biomorphic forms first found in his earliest Surrealist works. While no one would mistake the output of one phase of his career for another, these and other visual and thematic threads tie Kamrowski’s oeuvre together.

This exhibition displays twenty-three works dating from the 1930s to the present, organized according to theme. Visitors will see a landscape painting of the 1940s, Surrealist in style, next to an Abstract Expressionist landscape dating from the 1960s, alongside a geometrically inspired, landscape-themed mosaic from 2002. Similar juxtapositions occur in the grouping of images of figures, another theme Kamrowski returned to frequently throughout his career. The range of figurative work, dating from the 1930s to the 1980s, offers an opportunity to witness the wide range of styles Kamrowski embraced during these years. Unafraid to try on a multitude of styles, Kamrowski’s art demonstrates significant growth and development in a relatively short period of time. Each painting represents a different moment in the evolution of the artist

Works dating from the 1940s through the first years of the new century provide a comprehensive overview of Kamrowski’s use of animal imagery. Included in this section of the exhibition are the artist’s brightly-colored sculptural pieces representing hybrid animal forms, amusing and playful but quite different from real animals. Although informed by sixty years of art making, they are as surreal as some of his earliest works. These sculptural pieces make interesting partners for the two-dimensional works that accompany them, inviting the viewer to contemplate the ways in which Kamrowski’s treatment of this subject has evolved over the years.

Sean M. Ulmer
University Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art


This exhibition is made possible in part by the Richard Florsheim Art Fund and the University of Michigan School of Art & Design. Accompanying educational programs have been generously supported by Borders Group, Inc., the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, and Nonprofit Enterprises at Work.

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Quicktime VR Virtual Tour
View the exhibition using a 360 degree virtual tour.

(Quicktime is required. Click here to download and install it.)