Gerome Kamrowski - Ribbed Vertical
American, 1914 - 2004
Ribbed Vertical, 1946
Ink and gouache on board, 6.5 x 23.75 inches

Gift of Mary Jane Kamrowski

Ann Arbor artist Gerome Kamrowski's contributions to the surrealist and abstract expressionist movements in American art are represented in major museums in the U.S. and worldwide. During the late 1930s and 40s, Kamrowski was part of a group of young artists based in New York, which included Jackson Pollack and Robert Motherwell. Kamrowski's work from this period, including his collaborative painting with Pollock and William Baziotes, is still being shown internationally. In 1948, Gerome Kamrowski moved to Ann Arbor, where he taught at the University of Michigan School of Art until his retirement in 1982. During the Art School years he continued to exhibit widely and maintained an active studio life. His work ranges from paintings and collages on canvas and paper to an investigation of the use of industrial materials and an interest in painted geodesic domes.

Ribbed Vertical dates to Kamrowski's early period in New York. It holds affinities with the work being done at this time by Abstract Expressionist artists such as Mark Rothko and Adolph Gottlieb, whose primal imagery likewise explored imaginary worlds of protoplasmic forms-all in search of the mythic. Anticipating the mysterious submarine creatures of Kamrowski's later art, represented by other works in the Business School's collection, the shapes in Ribbed Vertical ironically occupy a horizontal space. Along with the skeletal reference of the title, they come together to suggest a recumbent and nightmarish effigy.