JONATHAN WILNER an American artist, born in New York in 1953, began his studies in Drawing at the Art Students League. It was there that he took an interest in, and began his study of Japanese Brush Painting with a private teacher. Inspired then by the U.S. Landscape Movement of the 19th Century, and looking to the Tonalists and Impressionists for inspiration, he turned to the study of artists of the Hudson river School, Scalp Level, New Hope, Old Lyme and California Impressionists for further inspiration. In his own words, “I began chasing the ghost on the canvas, and the images simply emerged then from my own unconscious mind, and as I had often painted landscapes from imagination, I have come to the conclusion that it is far more effective to simply ‘liberally interpret nature!'”
In the studio, Wilner explores other subject matter and paints from memory that which he internalizes from his visits abroad : for instance, depicting the architecture of European cities, portraying the human figure in its streets and alleys, capturing the ambiance of Old Madrid and some of the medieval cities to the North, are among the list of challenges he has undertaken for himself. “These are impressions through the eyes of a ‘visitor’ who has taken snapshots in ‘memory’, of the streets, parks, edifices, and city walls with the ‘intent’ of bringing them back to life in my paintings” he says. “Art school may give one the tools, but the responsibility rests with the painter to find the courage to make his own way, and discard what does not apply.”
ABOUT THE MEDIUM:
Art for me is a way of life. I breathe it in along with the linseed oil and turpentine enjoying squeezing a tube of oil paint observing its viscosity as it oozes out wondering how it will blend with my other pigments. Art for me is a never-ending path to discovery: uncovering unfamiliar products, revealing what the inner muse, yes we have a muse, wants to show me, and pressing against my limitations as I gain in dexterity, patience, skill, and knowledge. No matter how experienced or how expert the artist becomes, each painting is an adventure into uncharted territory discovering something new. Each work even for the grand master presents itself as a learning experience.
In my studio, the painting emerges over time. In some of my endeavors, I paint carefully wet on dry exploring the possibility of glazing and scumbling. When branching out into a new territory, I cautiously paint wet on dry struggling to gain proficiency with the unfamiliar subject matter. But then the struggle eases as I internalize important lessons in navigating its challenges. No matter the years of work, each painting presents a virgin field for exploration and an opportunity to learn and discover. Each work never ceases to amaze me during its execution.