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 John D Greene  

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     Known for: abstract landscape painting

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Ad Code: 4
John D. Greene Without Title XI
Without Title XI Oil and encaustic on panel
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
Biography from a third party submitted on 10/16/2009:
John Greene spent 30 years on Wall Street, but always maintained a studio in the West Village area of New York City where he would go after the stock market closed and use whatever energy he had left, to paint large, intense canvases.  At that point, working alone and in a cramped space, he began working in a manner which has stayed ith him until today, "from within my own head rather than from models or from still life or from actual landscapes."  In 1987, Greene retired from Wall Street and began to paint and sculpt full time.

John studied at the National Academy, and later at the Sculpture Center in NYC.  Greene paints in a number of series, each inspired by a trip he's taken.  The crucial element in all Greene's work is the texture of the paintings.  The materials he uses are truly unique, mixing beeswax with paint, a process called encaustic.  Wax, one of the earliest materials man has used in art has been found in Egyptian paintings, which are preserved to this day.  Wax gives Greene's work a sense of mystery, permanence and an amazing amount of texture.  The combination of materials he uses, steel, wood, lead and copper have an ever-changing patina, whereas the wax, which is difficult to control, counteracts the aging and metamorphosis of the rest of the materials.  For Greene the best part is the process of making a picture, revealing parts of him that might be a mystery.  He might layer wax and pigment on, only to scrape areas, giving the work a multi-layered, ancient feeling.  What fuels him is the smells, textures, endless decisions and accidents that come from creation. Greene tries to introduce elements that are hidden, that will encourage reading the painting many times to constantly discover something new.

The work ranges from surreal, calm landscapes to abstracts, highlighting Greene's subtle, earthy palette.

Artist Statement:
For me, painting is about paint: color, texture, the joy of putting it on or scraping it off.  I believe the results are best served by keen and repeated viewing.

My painting is about surface primarily. Surface is feeling – it can be ambivalent. It gives the illusion of depth and reflection, of time and memory and complexity.

I try to introduce elements that are hidden or apparent, that will encourage “reading” the paintings many times and constantly discovering something new.  I find myself using different materials such as copper or lead - materials from the earth (as is paint) - which may also change continually over time. I especially like beeswax, which in many ways is just the opposite of these other materials in terms of its durability and permanence, and  its wonderful ability to be opaque or transparent.

I prefer imagined sites rather than actual landscapes.  I incorporate crossroads, paths taken or not taken, suggestions and intimations of the past and the future. Windows, portals, exits and entrances are subjects that inspire me.  Materials that age, rust, decay and change are for me the elements of birth and survival.  I am fascinated by the perspective offered in gazing out of an airplane window, where the landscape below appears abstract. My goal in these paintings is to both retain the bare outlines of the landscape but also to go beyond that, to really create the anatomy of the land, the deep sensual underpinnings of all we see and know.

Above all, I love the PROCESS of making a picture – revealing parts of myself that might be a mystery to even  me.

I love the smells, textures, endless decisions and accidents that come from the paint, the wax, the wood, the cloth, the copper and the lead., that seem to be consistent with my purpose, my aesthetic. The making of art is a sensual endeavor, and all the better if it speaks to the observer – to me that is the greatest barometer of success.

Some of my “parents” are Richard Diebenkorn; Nathan Oliveira; Manuel Neri; Anthony Gormley; Elaine Anthony; and Judith Streeter.

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