Finding the Essential Form


“I’m beginning to realize that each culture back through the centuries had an image of mankind by which they are known today. In other words, there is the Greek man, the Egyptian man, and so forth. As I began to look around in our own time, I decided that there is a type, a special entity that makes our world go. And it is probably best represented by those who sit in most high corporate and/or bureaucratic seats.”
-Kirk Newman

Forty years ago, Kirk Newman found himself unexpectedly drawn to a “a homely subject that no one gave a damn about.” The subject was the businessman, and Newman sensed it held possibilities for expressing something essential about our time. This was a peculiar view in 1963, when figurative art was seen as hopelessly cliché and irrelevant. Yet in the decades that followed, Newman found in the figure the means of expressing not only contemporary experience but also the enigmatic nature of the human animal itself.