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Bo Bartlett, Dreamland, 1998, Oil on linen
88 x 120 inches, 89 x 121.25 inches, private collection

Big Stories
Curated by Bo Bartlett, Noah Buchanan, & Carl Dobsky

The New York Academy of Art is pleased to present “Big Stories,” a group exhibition featuring large-scale, contemporary figurative paintings influenced by the narrative tradition. Curated by Bo Bartlett, Noah Buchanan, and Carl Dobsky, Big Stories travels to New York after its initial showing at the Bo Bartlett Center at Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia.

From Homer to Shakespeare to Spielberg, the history of Western Culture has been shaped by the narrative arc. Stories are the fabric of our lives, recounting heroic journeys across cultures, as described by Joseph Campbell in A Hero with a Thousand Faces, revealing the recurring themes of transcendence in our shared experience. The exhibition aims to underscore the profound impact of storytelling on Western culture. Whether the narratives are evident in the surface imagery or deeply woven into the work itself, paintings in “Big Stories” invite reflection on and connection to our shared stories, urging the viewer to find meaning in our existence. Cocurator Bo Bartlett explains in his essay on the exhibition “These are not moral tales. These are not dogmatic history paintings. These are not old-fashioned preaching fables. The paintings of Big Stories are the manifestations of contemporary artists striving to find the stories that connect to the larger world, where personal stories become universal, and their inner world finds a connection to the outer world.”

Featured artists include Steven Assael, Bo Bartlett, Margaret Bowland, Noah Buchanan, Aleah Chapin, Alfred Conteh, Vincent Desiderio, Carl Dobsky, Michelle Doll, Najee Dorsey, Paul Fenniak, Zoey Frank, Andrea Kowch, Adam Miller, Odd Nerdrum, Amy Sherald, Tim Short, and Patricia Watwood.


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