John Zurier: Night Paintings

John Zurier Night 20 Distemper on Linen 20x30 inches

In the Old City district of Philadelphia, I visited John Zurier's eloquent show, NIGHT PAINTINGS, at Larry Becker Contemporary Art. Wandering into the intimate gallery, on a quiet morning easy with soft spring light, I was so pleased to spend a generous, comfortable hour with Heidi and Larry amidst Zurier's luminous surfaces. Just perfect.

Zurier's 12 paintings, all very close in scale and hue, are created with traditional distemper media (dry pigment and hide glue thinned with water and embedded into raw linen in thin, multiple layers), which Zurier has absolutely made his own. His surfaces become subtle journeys through deft mark and resonating hue, each painting pulsing with pthalo, deep ultramarine and bright lapis-like blues, and undertones of viridian and the earthy raw linen beneath. Wide horizontal swathes of brush strokes hold the surfaces as light moves slowly about them. These are profoundly personal works, strong yet fragile, eliciting an essence of vital place and land mass.

I met with both John Zurier and his wife, photographer Nina Hubbs Zurier, later that evening. They live in Berkely, CA and both exhibit with Wade Wilson in Houston, TX. John Zurier's painting can also be seen at Peter Blum in NYC.

NIGHT PAINTINGS continues through April 19.


Fiona said...

Stunning Kate, and so lyrically described. It is so interesting to hear about his process too. Definitely one to watch.

Anonymous said...

Kate: so glad you got to see this show. I found the paintings so imbued with a fugitive quality, like the light just as dawn approaches. The distemper is not a hearty medium or process and produces a velvety, matte surface. It is a medium and technique used for decorative objects and/or scene painting in theater that is likely to be destroyed or painted over, which is a fine metaphor for the passing of time. Lovely paintings. Intimate experience.
Pam Farrell

Munira said...

Kate, you are so lucky to see these beautiful paintings live. Even the images are stunning. I dont know if distemper is the same paint medium I remember as a child used for interior house paint.

Fiona said...

Hi Kate
I checked out all the links which you posted. It is really useful and interesting to be directed to these sites. They are things that I would never have found in any other way. I found Nina Hubbs Zurier's photographs very beautiful. They are ethereal but have bite. I particularly liked Archipelago because of the grays and Hegemony. Now as for the gallery links I found those very interesting because it seems to me that there is more respect for and more galleries showing very abstract work in the States than there are in England. Although it may be just that you have selected the few who do.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing this.