Ernest Noel Posey (Dec. 25, 1937 – Dec. 25, 2007)
well-regarded abstract artist of Northern California during the 60s, 70s and 80s, Posey had over two dozen solo exhibitions of his paintings and mixed media, including shows at the Palace of the Legion of Honor, the San Jose Museum of Art, and numerous private galleries, including the Allrich, Kay Kimpton, and Ebert Galleries in San Francisco, and the David Cole Gallery in Inverness. Posey’s work is included in a number of important collections, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the San Jose Museum of Art, the Oakland Museum, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the New Orleans Collection and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, as well as such varied collections as the Achenbach Collection, Chase Manhattan Bank, AT&T and Architectural Digest.
Born and raised in New Orleans, Posey earned a degree in Fine Arts from Louisiana State University and a degree in Architecture from Tulane. He then moved to New York City to pursue his painting career while working in advertising. His first solo exhibition was in 1966 at the prestigious Henri Gallery in Washington, D.C. In 1968, he moved to San Francisco, where he had another solo show at the well-regarded Galeria Van der Voort. He taught at the California College of Art and the San Francisco Academy of Art University where he was Chairman of the Department of Fine Art. He was business manager for the California Federation of Art Teachers, and a mediator-arbitrator with California Lawyers for the Arts. Mr. Posey was also a filmmaker, public television director, author, graphic designer and book illustrator–a recent collection of his “sand painting” illustrations can be seen in Janine Canan’s Walk Now in Beauty: The Legend of Changing Woman.
Posey’s artistic pursuits eventually took him to Mendocino County where he bought a small cabin and later built a large working studio. He moved permanently to Mendocino County in the late 1970s and worked exclusively on his paintings, drawings and assemblages for the next 30 years, creating a significant body of work. Mr. Posey passed away in December of 2007.
Posey was a superlative conversationalist with an encyclopedic knowledge of the arts and literature, a ready wit and a joie de vivre who inspired all those he met and who generously shared his work and his genius with students, colleagues and admirers alike. He was especially fond of and skilled at conversing with complete strangers whose lives were brightened and whose horizons were forever expanded by the meeting. A true metaphysician, he celebrated the esoteric wonders of being in his art, as well as in all aspects of his life, and believed that “in our times, the artist’s studio has succeeded the alchemist’s laboratory.”