Internationally known, Gary Erbe’s iconic images of Americana comprise a wide range of familiar subjects, including the golden age of television, sports, popular cartoons, classic Saturday morning matinees and culturally important social commentary. In describing his art, Erbe says that he has “found ways of circumventing the so-called rules of trompe l’oeil in favor of originality, inventiveness and creativity.” He often refers to his paintings as ‘levitational realism’, using flat space forms, shadow, light and color to create a visual story. Gary Erbe: 50 Year Retrospective is part of a larger touring exhibition presented at The Butler Institute of American Art, Reading Public Museum and the John F. Peto Studio Museum, 2017 through 2018.
Gary Erbe was born in 1944 in Union City, New Jersey, and was self-taught as a painter. He worked as an engraver from 1965 – 1970 to support his family, painting nights and weekends to develop his skills. In 1967, he discovered tromp l-oeil painting and its masters. By 1969, Erbe had conceived a way of painting that was a contemporary departure from traditional tromp l’oeil creations.
He has exhibited extensively since 1970 with solo exhibitions at museums and galleries throughout America, Asia and Europe. He is represented in numerous private and public collections including The Brinton Museum (WY), The Butler Institute of American Art (OH), Philadelphia Museum of Art (PA), Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (AK), Brandywine River Museum (PA), Phoenix Art Museum (AZ), and more. He is the recipient of numerous awards including an unprecedented 6 Gold Medals at The Allied Artists of America, Inc. Annual Exhibitions held at The National Arts Club in New York City. His oils focus on iconic images of Americana, including pop culture to sports, the golden age of television to opera and the American West, which come alive in beautifully constructed compositions on canvas.