Your fine art information site since 1995

Gregory Gillespie, 64, an Unflinching Painter
By Roberta Smith
New York Times, 4.20.2000
Gregory Gillespie, an artist whose probing, urgent, often bizarre paintings occupied a singular place in the history of late-20th-century representation, died on Wednesday at his home in Belchertown, Mass, an apparent suicide. He was 64.

Mr. Gillespie's wife, Peggy, found him hanging in his studio late that night, said Robert Fishko of the Forum Gallery, where he often exhibited his work.

His art was known for an obsessive attention to realistic detail, but the term realist fit only a narrow swath of his sensibility. He once told an interviewer that he was seeking a reality "beyond our sense," and he pursued it with a variety of artistic styles, techniques and references. He mixed his realism with Expressionist distortion and Surrealistic juxtaposition, just as he supplemented his meticulously applied oil paint with roiling brushwork, photomontage, collage, assemblage, thickly built-up surfaces and, recently, photocopied images.

He also found inspiration in several centuries of European painters, including Balthus, Bacon, Beckmann, Bosch, Breugel, Van Eyck, Masaccio and Crivelli. He also drew from and frequently depicted motifs from Indian sculpture, Tibetan mandalas and Chinese and Mayan art.