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 Impressionist movement 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!'"
Now, living in Windham New York, Wilner has taken to the countryside in pursuit of the 'Plein Air' Technique. He maintains that the skills required for landscapes are similar to the urban challenges, with the latter requiring a feel for architecture.
In the studio, Wilner explores other subject matter and paints from memory that which he is still internalizing from his recent visit to Spain : depicting its architecture, portraying the human figure in the streets and alleys, capturing the ambiance of Old Madrid and some of the medieval cities to the North, are just a few of the challenges he's 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 art student to find the courage to make his own way, and discard what does not apply."
Reflecting on Cook Ting in the Chuang Tzu who intuitively knew how to slice an ox without wearing out his knives, Wilner states: "there are painters who are inspired simply by breathing in the rarefied air of Italy or France, and visiting the world's great museums and scrutinizing the works held therein. The great masters are their teachers, transmitting what has to be learned through 'their' own works. It's not that I disparage formal training but rather believe that the painter learns with each work that emerges from his own process, with or without the physical teacher being present..."