Jerry Zeniuk

How to Paint

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116 Pages
ca. 12 figs.
Cloth binding
March 2017

ISBN 978-3-944874-62-3 (German/English)

“When I paint, for me, color is surely the medium that I use to touch people’s hearts.”
Jerry Zeniuk


Over forty years, Jerry Zeniuk has created an autonomous oeuvre at whose center is color, with its diverse possibilities of expression. Here, however, color advocates for emotion that only finds its way to objectivity by means of structure and form. Over time, this tension has regularly prompted Zeniuk to express his thoughts on fundamental questions of painting in lectures and essays. How to Paint now brings these reflections together once again. In thirty-seven short chapters, which might seem to be meditations, the painter sheds light on what characterizes a painting in the first place and on what still accounts for its reputation today, since the categories for describing the quality of visual art have become blurred. Our ability to see in a differentiated way has diminished as well. Reading the unmistakable alphabet and the syntax of a painting is no longer a matter of course.

The author writes: “I’m interested in in seeing properly. Seeing is thinking. Painters are conceptual artists. We see pictorial structures where there is supposedly only surface and material.” In simple diction and with comprehensible observations, Zeniuk circles around this major topic and in doing so touches on central questions. In particular: How does art, a cognitive fact, arise at all from the seemingly simple act of applying oil pigment to a surface? For Zeniuk, this question has not changed over the centuries. His text is correspondingly accompanied by selected illustrations from works on the history of painting, from Titian to Velázquez, to Cézanne and Mondrian.

JERRY ZENIUK (*1945) became a professor at the Akademie der bildenden Künste (Academy of Fine Arts) in Munich in 1992. Zeniuk lives and works today alternately in New York and Munich. His works are represented in renowned collections: the Louisiana Museum, the Hamburger Kunsthalle, the Bavarian Staatsgemäldesammlungen (State Painting Collections) in Munich, et al.