Jon Imber grew up on Long Island, N.Y., and attended Cornell University. He studied with painter Philip Guston at Boston University, where he received his MFA in 1977. In early works, he painted hulking figures with tiny strokes. Over the years, Imber’s brushstrokes grew more exuberant as he turned from figurative painting to plein-air landscape painting. His paintings grew more abstract, looser, and energetic as he developed his own unique visual language.
His work is in numerous collections including Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Danforth Museum, DeCordova Museum, Farnsworth Museum, Fogg Art Museum to name a few. Imber taught at the Rhode Island School of Design and for 27 years at Harvard. His work has been included in many publications including Paintings of Maine: A New Selection by Carl Little, Boston Modern, Figurative Expressionism as Alternative Modernism by Judith Bookbinder. Imber is the subject of a documentary Jon Imber: My Left Hand produced by Richard Kane as part of the Maine Masters Project, an ongoing series of distinguished Maine artists sponsored by the Union of Maine Visual Artists.
In the fall of 2012, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). As his health deteriorated, he continued to paint by adapting. He began using his left hand when he could no longer use his right. When getting outside became too difficult he began painting portraits of his many friends who visited. He painted up to the end of his life. John Imber, 63 died of ALS on April 17, 2014.
“He is one of the most important painters of his generation,” said Katherine French, executive director of Danforth Art in Framingham.”
Jon Imber is represented in Portland, Maine by Greenhut Galleries.