Ben Bishop (1923-1994)
WORKS IN THE EXHIBITION (PART 1)
WORKS IN THE EXHIBITION (PART 2)
BIO & ARTIST'S STATEMENT
Born in the Bronx in 1923, Ben Bishop fell in love with art at the age of six and was true to this love until his untimely death in 1994. The son of immigrants, Bishop was a member of the inaugural class of New York City’s fabled High School of Music and Art, which he credited throughout his life with cultivating his horizons, “We were Fiorello LaGuardia’s kids.”
After serving in the Army Air Corps flying 39 missions over the Pacific during World War II, he returned to New York City where he joined the Art Students’ League and studied with Will Barnett.
Holding a BFA in art history from the University of Nebraska, Bishop went on to do graduate work at Columbia University, NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts and the University of California at Berkeley from which he received an MA in painting in 1954. His pursuit of a PhD in art history came to an end, “When I left my dissertation on the train to Poughkeepsie.” His deep understanding of art history clearly informs the prodigious amount of art he produced in his lifetime.
In one of his last statements about his work he said, “After being influenced by all the major movements of the 20th Century, my work has gone back to its original form, loosely to be described as an expressionistic form of realism. I love to be looking at the world while painting, not to describe, but to be excited and energized. I accept the belief that all perception is selected perception and hope that my selected perception is as worth looking at as I find it is worth doing.”
His professional teaching credentials included posts at Vassar College, the Memphis Academy of Art, the University of Missouri and the State University of New York at New Paltz, where he retired as Professor Emeritus in 1985.
Like countless artists Bishop took on many other forms of work before finding a secure haven in academia. At one time he was the top salesman for Encyclopedia Britannica, “and I had a choice between a fur for my wife and a Jaguar. I took the Jaguar and it was always in the shop until I got rid of it.”
Bishop made his final home on a Hudson Valley farm compound in the hamlet of High Falls, New York, where lived for many years until his death in an automobile accident. His home/studio was a jewel box representing his love of
Spain, with coffered walls, tile work and lively painted surfaces.
Bishop’s work is represented in public collections at the Jewett Art Center, Brandeis University Museum, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the Syracuse Museum, the Russell Sage Museum, Bennington College, and the New York State Universities at Binghamton, Potsdam and New Paltz. The corporate collection of IBM acquired two of his Hudson River paintings. His drawings, paintings, collages and prints have been in countless shows and are in many private collections across the United States. He showed in a vast spectrum of invitational and competitive exhibitions. At the time of his death he had over 35 one-man shows to his credit.