Allegories in Oil
Exhibit Dates: September 22 – November 12, 2023
Allegories in Oil
George Strasburger’s paintings are portraits of the human condition. He considers himself “a localist” who paints images of the people he encounters in his neighborhood and the local community. Often he portrays individuals living in chaotic, unfortunate, or challenging situations. Strasburger’s paintings provide glimpses of his subject’s vulnerability and need for human connection. By exposing intimate moments in the lives of these members of society, his artwork allows viewers to connect with the subject’s humanity and hopefully dismantle stereotypes about people coping with hardship on the margins of society.
As a Catholic schoolboy, Strasburger attended daily mass in a church filled with narrative paintings depicting parables. Sitting in the pew, he would gaze with awe at these paintings and contemplate the parables. He credits his exposure to these works of art with influencing his painting style and directly impacting his choice of subject matter. As he became exposed to the history of art, Strasburger developed a love for the 18th-century masters including Goya, Velazquez, and Caravaggio among others. He works to emulate these artists’ painting techniques, in particular their use of high contrasting light used to emphasize the drama in their work. He also loves the work of 19th-century French academic painters such as the naturalist Jules Breton, portrait painter Léon Bonnat, and Aimé Morot.
He is unabashedly theatrical when it comes to composition, color, and light. His technical prowess with oil paint enables him to capture the viewers’ attention, luring us into his narratives. Once there we are empowered to ponder the moments of comfort or compassion depicted.