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 some basic, and some complex, rules. ‘Knowing the rules before you break them’ has, and continues to, apply.
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, and as a psychoanalyst, has 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. And further, when viewing my paintings, I hope I can help them to perceive the world in a new way. Not an easy task.
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, David Hockney, 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 a few years ago, my first solo show, was at the same gallery and was very 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. These events occurred within a month of each other. I am grateful my mother had a chance to meet my daughter, but I am saddened that it was for such a brief moment in time. It is over two years since Lola’s birth and my mother’s death, and I am still coming to grips with life and death and the terror of the finite and infinite. And so, ultimately, 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.
*An addendum to the previous passage: Recently I was going to have my next solo show at Peleiades, but COVID happened and the show was canceled. And so, I decided to redo this website and post my new and archival paintings. Not all of my work is here; for instance, the ones that were stolen when I lived in Madrid, well they aren’t here; but, it is a fairly good sampling. My Instagram has some others. My hope is to someday show at another gallery and reach some collectors. I’m well aware that all artists want this. But if I can’t think it, I can’t make it happen. I hope you’ll pass this website and info along to your friends and acquaintances.
Enclosed are some abstracts, but mostly familial paintings and the stills that my family and I have seen and landscapes we have observed. To me, family is life's heartbeat. Whether that is one's nuclear family or close friends and mentors met along the way.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and to view my site. Feel free to reach out via the contact page, e mail, or phone.
All my best regards,
Douglas Zimmerman (April 2020)