Sugarloaf Key, Florida studio, 2011
I was born in New York City in 1941 but spent much of my childhood in southern Florida where we lived near the ocean. The ocean became a part of my life and I spent hours there almost every day. I arrived in New York to study painting at Pratt Institute in 1958, which totally reinforced my passion to be a painter.
My solo exhibitions begin in 1976 at the historic Betty Parsons / Jock Truman Gallery, New York, followed by solo shows at the legendary Clocktower, New York; MoMA PS 1, New York; the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Texas, and many gallery exhibitions. My paintings have been included in the Whitney Museum Biennial, New York, Museo di Palazzo Grimani, Venice, Italy with the Venice Biennale, and over 30 group museum exhibitions worldwide.
I received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Academy Award for Painting and a National Endowment for the Arts Award. I was inducted into the National Academy in 2009, and have been a member of the American Abstract Artists since 1985. My work is in numerous public and private collections. As a young artist, I was the artist-in-residence with the United States Information Agency in Poland. My paintings, drawings, prints have been included in various anthologies. I have taught and lectured at several universities.
Presently, I live and work in the same loft in New York City since 1973 and I live and work near the ocean on Sugarloaf Key, Florida.
Soho, New York studio, 2008
About my work
I work primarily in oil on linen canvases, sculpting paint into abstract compositions. My early work was spare and assertive with irregular geometric forms which over the years evolved more to the natural world but as sensations, formalized by color, brush strokes and scale.
I work with a limited palette of only four base colors: red, yellow, black, and white but over the years, by mixing and combining them I produce a seemingly infinite variety of shades and hues. It has given me a kind of subliminal freedom, even an invisible stability to the work. The varied hues in the hundreds of works I have made emerged from just this palette.
I have traveled extensively—from the jungles of South America to the temples of Asia—looking at parallels in crafts and art, and believe these colors represents a primary universal palette, with references to prehistoric painting and aboriginal art around the world.
All of my paintings include a vertical bar along the right edge of the canvas. This bar that first appeared in the 1970s has also become a permanent element in all my work. In effect it is acting as a visual foil for the rest, a dialogue between two parts, a duet, a response, a personal system.