About The Artist
Paul Jenkins (1923–2012) was one of the most significant postwar abstract painters in America. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Jenkins spent two years in the Navy Air Corps during the Second World War. He moved to New York in 1948 where he used the G.I. Bill to study at the Art Students League under Yasuo Kuniyoshi. Fascinated by the metaphysical theories of Abstract Expressionism, he became associated with the New York School in the 1950s. He encountered Jackson Pollock and became friends with Mark Rothko. Jenkins retained his artistic connections to the city’s art scene even after relocating to Paris in 1953. By the late 1960s he had found international acclaim and was exhibiting in galleries worldwide.
Jenkins left behind a dramatic and beautiful body of abstract paintings, brimming with rich, saturated hues and spontaneous compositions. He achieved this unique aesthetic by working on a tilted canvas, which could be moved to direct the flow of poured paint as it pooled across the painting surface. Jenkins then manipulated the paint using an ivory knife. The resulting billowing veils of color reflect the dynamic way in which they were produced. Jenkins’ fluid style of action painting draws comparisons with the work of Pollock and Willem de Kooning, whom Jenkins often exhibited alongside.
Jenkins referred to his paintings as ‘phenomena,’ which encapsulates the intuitive nature of process which incorporated chance wherever possible. In reference to his unconventional methods, the artist said, “I try to paint like a crapshooter throwing dice, utilizing past experience and my knowledge of the odds. It’s a big gamble, and that’s why I love it.” Jenkins remained prolific in the 1970s and beyond and his later practice attained a more reflective air, informed by his interest in Eastern philosophy, the work of Carl Gustav Jung and the I Ching.
Jenkins’ work is featured in numerous major collections around the world including Tate, London; National Museum, Cardiff; Musée d´Art Moderne et d`art Contemporain, Nice; Muzeum Sztuki, Lodz; Vancouver Art Gallery; Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo; Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills; Museum of Contemporary Art, Jacksonville; List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge; Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont; Palm Springs Art Museum and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Kennedy, R. “Paul Jenkins, Painter of Abstract Artwork, Dies at 88.” New York Times. June 17, 2012. Web, Jan. 17, 2017. Zona, L.A. “Biography”. paulkenkins.net, Web, Jan, 17. 2017. “Paul Jenkins”. artsy.com. Web, Jan, 17. 2017. Felleman, S. Real Objects in Unreal Situations: Modern Art in Fiction Films. Intellect Books, 2015. 134-135.