Presenting the history of American Art as seen through the eyes of Provincetown

Murray Zimiles



Murray Zimiles has spent summers on the vast, open dunes of Provincetown living in a dune shack. "Although much of the content of my paintings derives from an inner vision and relates to my Hudson River surroundings and perhaps the Hudson River Landscape School, I did drink in the wonders of wide and wild vistas while, as a boy, I lived with my aunt and uncle, artists Boris Margo and Jan Gelb, and helped build the shack known as Margo Gelb. Each summer, living on the dunes, I continue to absorb the space, the light, and the feel of the Cape's undulating landscape detectable in my paintings.

As an artist living in the Hudson Valley where the great tradition of American landscape painting began and flourished, I am attempting to continue in that tradition by creating a 'new' American landscape based on my observation of segmented fields and animals in motion. Like those artists, the sublime is what I strive for."

Writing in a catalog for Murray Zimiles in 2008, author and art historian Matthew Baigel* stated: "Let me state right at the start and this is not said lightly or casually, Murray Zimiles' recent landscapes, dating from 2002, are as visually and intellectually rich as any being painted today. Period."

These five-foot paintings are very complex and intriguing, completed with unusual colors and abstracted shapes, incorporating wild and domesticated animals. They intrigue in their fantastical imagery, bringing forth a sense of the vast and mysterious.

Andre Van der Wende observes in the current issue of Boston's ArtSCOPE Magazine: "Murray Zimiles' landscape paintings at the Berta Walker Gallery appear to exist outside of time and place, a metaphysical space cloistered within a mythology of rolling fields, roaming animals, and a fractured, pulsing light... We recognize the contours of the land, the tidy patchwork of the colorful fields and hedgerows, but the landscape bends and twists its way into disorientating folds, truncated horizons and the ghostly apparitions of animals that not so much march across the land as fly over it. Technically they're a marvel, a complex lattice of color overlays that give the illusion of transparency merging. They're painstakingly painted with rich saturation's of pigment and subtle hatching and stippling that allude to a vortex of energy connected to the sweep of the land and the currents of wind that carries our history back to the past and into the future....The bursts of sun rays and dappled light gives the work a mystical tone even if it's open and unspecified. These paintings soar, further enhancing their celestial bearing."

Zimiles' landscapes celebrate the land and the animals inhabiting it. But they also allude to the delicacy of nature, and the need for compassion and vigilance by mankind to preserve our natural world. In these paintings, the malleable nature of the land and light seems not only to illuminate the present, but also hints at future possibilities.

From 1984-1993, Zimiles focused his amazing talents on making paintings about the Holocaust. Recently, The Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg, FL, acquired 150 paintings, drawings, prints and artist books which will be presented in September of 2014. And Zimiles will receive a small retrospective of his prints this August at the Performing Art Center at SUNY, Purchase, NY.

Zimiles has been presented in over fifteen one-man Museum and Art Center exhibitions in the United States and Australia, and has exhibited widely in Museum group exhibitions here and Abroad. He has written books and catalogs on varying subjects including printmaking and windmill energy. For the American Folk Art Museum he curated the exhibition "Gilded Lions and Jeweled Horses"; the accompanying book/catalogue won the 2007 National Jewish Book Award in the art history category. He is a painter, printmaker, curator and author, and has been, since 1977, a professor of art at Purchase College, SUNY. An MFA graduate in painting and printmaking from Cornell University, with advanced training in lithography in Paris, France, his paintings and prints are held widely in private and public collections throughout the world, notably and in part: The Museum of Modern Art,The Brooklyn Museum, The Jewish Museum, The New York Public Library and Neuberger Museum, all in New York; The Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA, Wesleyan University, CT, The Portland Museum of Art, OR, The Museum of Modern Art, Haifa, Israel, The Tel Aviv Museum, Israel, The National Collection, Washington, D.C,, and the Ronald Lauder Collection, NY.

*    Matthew Baigell, professor emeritus of art history, Rutgers University, has written and edited twenty books and numerous articles on American and contemporary Rusian art. His books on landscape artists include Thomas Cole, Albert Bierstadt, Charles Burchfield, and Thomas Hart Benton as well as articles on Cole, Benton, Frederick Church, George Inness and the landscape artists in the Alfred Stieglitz circle.