Ira Yeager and the Traditions
“…At the California College of Arts and Crafts and later at the San Francisco Art Institute, Yeager found himself amongst the most creative assemblage of artist/professors and students in the history of those distinguished institutions. The years 1957-1959 included Richard Diebenkorn and Elmer Bischoff as teachers and Joan Brown and Jay de Feo, amongst others, as fellow students.
The characteristics of this era, was a willingness to experiment with looser composition, expressive representation and bold color. These qualities were later to be referred to art historically as the Bay Area school of figuration. This was a movement parallel to but not subservient to the more influential New York school of abstract expressionism.
Yeager took full advantage of this unique moment and the lessons learned have continued to inform his art. The color and composition of his early work shows an influence from Diebenkorn and Bischoff. His interest, at times, delving inot the autobiographical could well come from his friendship with Joan Brown whose self as a subject was a mainstay of her art. Finally, the sense of experimentation with scale and unusual surface materials (chairs, screens, paint can tops) could have come from observing the unconventional practices of such artists as Jay de Foe, Manuel Neri, and Bruce Connor.”
Robert Flynn Johnson
Former Curator in Charge, Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, The Legion of Honor, FAMSF
Sited from exhibition catalogue: IRA YEAGER: Process and Progression,
An Exhibition of Pivotal and Transitional Works, 1958-2008. (pg.14)
of the Bay Area Figurative Movement