Sordoni exhibit showcases Gabin’s humanism

This quote in the Sordoni Galley’s George Gabin exhibit was reportedly made the night before Gabin died.

David Lee

This quote in the Sordoni Galley’s George Gabin exhibit was reportedly made the night before Gabin died.

James Jaskolka, LAE assistant editor

The Sordoni Art Gallery will be exhibiting the work of the late painter and teacher George Gabin until May 11 – one of the only times an artist has been on display for an entire semester.

Gabin, who died in 2012, was born in 1931 in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn and had been painting since the time he was in high school, according to his widow, Martha Stone.

Stone said that she and Gabin spent much of their time in Italy, where many of the landscape portraits were painted. According to Stone, Gabin was bedridden due to sickness as a child and missed out on many youthful activities. He found new inspiration in Italy.

“He was fascinated with the way the youth gathered together in the summertime,” she said. “I think he found his Coney Island there.”

Stone also stated that Gabin was concerned with humanism and people, and described Gabin as “a very political person.”

“He was always concerned with equality and equal rights,” she said. “He had a great respect for the worker.”

These themes are prevalent in Gabin’s paintings such as the Bathers, featuring two nude characters gazing at a third in the distance, and Early Spring at Lamole, which Stone said was the view of two workers from their house in Italy.

Carol Gabin, George’s daughter, said the artist was heavily involved in both the civil rights and the antiwar movements. His political involvement also comes across in his art, such as in his paintings The Fallen Tower (I and II), both of which were inspired by 9/11, according to Stone.

Carol Gabin said her father would have been happy with the legacy he had left behind – as a teacher of art, he often took students to museums. She said he would have been particularly happy that his art is being showcased in a university.

“Teaching was very important to him,” she said. “The fact that his art is being used as a teaching tool is wonderful.”

Gabin taught at the New England school of art until 1970, when he co-founded the Montserrat College of Art, where he taught until 1998. He also spent summers teaching in Italy.

This exhibit is different from others showcased at the university because it will span until the end of the semester, rather than for just a few weeks.

“Hosting this exhibition for an entire semester will provide ample time to get many students, individuals as well as classes throughout the university, into the gallery for a close-up study of the exhibition and for professors to work it into their curriculum.” said Gallery Assistant Director, Brittany Kramer DeBalko.

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