Sunday, March 11, 2012

Casey Sonnabend


Yellow Sky

Untitled 2

Meat Landscape

Sienna Rub


New One

Casey Sonnabend (right) in Oskar Kokoschka's class.

My memory astounds me at times. Around 1991/1992 I was at a friend's house in Santa Cruz, CA where a large painting by the mysterious Casey Sonnabend hung on the wall. I never met Casey, but said friend told me he was living in Santa Cruz, CA and was a student of Oskar Kokoschka in the 1950s. Why I didn't try to meet Sonnabend remains a mystery as his art work made a big impression on me at the time. As far as I know he still resides in Santa Cruz.

He also took the iconic flower power photo of an Indian sadhu that was used on many a hippy poster, and most significantly on the cover of Rene Daumal's Mount Analogue.

Casey also played congas in a pre-Quicksilver Messenger Service one day only group, along with Skip Spence on drums!

Susie Bright mentions Casey here.

Born December 2, 1933, in Buffalo, New York

1948 - Played snare drum in Junior Philharmonic Orchestra at Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, California

Attended City College in Los Angeles, California

1953 - 1957 - Played traps in U.S. Navy; began painting

1958 - Studied painting with Oskar Kokaschka in Salzburg, Austria

1959- Played at International Jazz Festival in Florence and Rome, Italy

1959 - Exhibited at American Painters Show in Florence, Italy

1963 - One-man Photography Show at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

1963 - 1966 - Travel to India, took many photographs, one of which, "Sadhu," was used for 1967 Be-In Poster

1967 - Photography Show at Monterey Pop Festival

1967 - 1977 - Painting and Drawing in Big Sur, California

1977 - 1979 - Conga drummer for Anne Halprin Dance Workshop in San Francisco and Esalen Institute, Big Sur, California; traveled to Mexico and Hawaii

1979 - 1985 - Big Sur, painting, drawing, and writing poetry

1985 - 1995 - Painting, writing poetry, playing music, and raising children in Santa Cruz, California

1995 - 2003 - Working with a grant from Ann and Stan Rice

Body of work:

Over 500 oil paintings and drawings
10 hours unedited video of artist at work and images
Thousands of photos and negatives
Three books of poems
One book on Art

Note: the art works are reproduced without permission.



Mark Pino said...

Ab artist most deserving of a retrospective!

Bocphet said...

I didn't know he was a student of Oskar Kokoschka. You can see Kokoschka's influence on the way Sonnabend applies paint to his canvases.