Like most artists, my art has gone through many stages. Way, way, back at NYU, early classes at the Art Students League, and while studying in Madrid, I was learning the “essentials” – building a foundation. How colors mix, which brushes to use and for what, and what are the best materials to paint upon and with what medium (should I go linen or cotton, oil or acrylic, and which primer)? I always had a pretty good feeling for color and composition (perhaps because of my film background); nonetheless, it was nice to learn about ‘the rule of thirds.’ All the various rules are nice to know, to fall back upon, when in a bind.
As the years have progressed, different painters, filmmakers, and writers have strongly influenced my vision. Early on, it was the New Wave filmmakers, such as Truffaut and Goddard and the French Impressionists of Montmartre. Then the lost generation infused my soul and I thought I was Henry Miller one day and Picasso the next.
Many years on the couch as an analysand helped me reconfigure how I saw myself and how I saw the world. I began to see and find interest in abstraction. Not just the Abstract Expressionists, such as Pollack and De Kooning; but I began to see that painters such as Turner often walked the line between the real and the abstract; and that Goya was not just a Court Painter, but perhaps one of the first Impressionist painters. The lines blurred. And the acceptance of this fact, that life and those that paint it cannot so easily be tagged as this or that, opened my eyes and filled me with a renewed vigor. Now, I realized, it was my job to record my emotions with a proper concept and a finer technique. I must do this! But I am well aware of my audience – I hope they can enjoy the paintings. Or at the very least, or most, I hope they think and feel something, somehow, some way – that they have been reconfigured and maybe see the world differently after seeing my work. I recognize this is a big ask!
It has all became at once exciting and overwhelming. But it’s hard to find a bad Munch painting. And Alice Neel is so good that I usually want to just quit after I see her work. The same often holds true for the works of Egon Schiele or Lucien Freud. So many to be inspired by and to then try to record the emotions of the day – an homage to Raphael, Carravaggio, and Velázquez; Milton Avery and Fairfield Porter; and more recently, Peter Doig and Jenny Saville. Thank you.
Finally, recently I have been in a few group shows at The Pleiades Gallery on 25th Street, New York City. And very recently, my first solo show, again at Pleiades, was well received. The show was called ‘Breath & Death,’ inspired by two significant overlapping events: the death of my beloved mother, and the birth of my beloved daughter, Lola. So it is the fond memory of my mother’s life and the wonderful curiosity and affirmation of life, in my daughter’s eyes, that will lead me onward.
Douglas Zimmerman - June 2018
* It is now 2019, April -
And as the group show "It's a mad, mad, mad world" is wrapping up and I am reconstructing (deconstructing?) my web site - I thought I would add what has transformed in my outlook and feelings on art, because in less than a year, I think they are substantial: It has become hard for me to look at a work of art, my included, and feel that it is special. I can appreciate the work that went behind it. The task of making art. But now, I find that transcending - making something that really says something and touching one, oh it is so much harder! I think that is why I am painting much more slowly. I just don't like much of what I do. If I decide to hang a piece, then I sincerely like it. Otherwise, it doesn't leave the easel, or closet, et al.
It is all so different now. In the Spring of 2020 I will be having a solo show at Pleiades - for now, I'm thinking modern landscapes and modern stills. What does that mean? Well, it is just a title, but I will be moving away (somewhat) from the figure; and I will "try" to communicate with the audience more by moving the paint, or whatever medium - I have thought about adding sand and more? - moving it in such a way, applying it, so that, that is moving in itself. The subject, thus, not as important, as the piece which has been done. We will see?
Best for now,
Douglas Zimmerman/April, 2019.