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 Lee Munsell  (1945 - )

About: Lee Munsell


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Lived/Active: California      Known for: landscape and seascape painting

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Biography from World Art Gallery:
Lee Munsell was born in 1945 in San Francisco.  He studied art at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, California.

Art Critic, William Havlicek, on Lee Munsell's art:
"Munsell is a Luminist.  He explores a range of naturalistic subject matter with a sensitive eye for light and, more specifically, for degrees of luminosity. Like the 19th century American landscape painters, George Inness and Frederic Church, he uses nuances of light to create transcendent evocations.  At a time when excess is a great temptation for an artist, it is refreshing to find an individual like Munsell who embraces time-honored tradition and attempts the difficult.  He may approach a silent mountain terrain where clouds and light are as much the subjects of the work as are the peaks and strong pines.  His subject matter is more than the obvious, which is why his painting strikes deep and lingers long.

Like Winslow Homer, who in his late work explored the profundity of water and light, Munsell too presents us with a shimmering world of cold waves, rock and sunlight.  Dark, billowing swells are in Munsell's hand surprisingly alive.  It is certain that he knows the subject intimately. Where other painters would rest content with the eerie glow of backlit waves, he takes on the more difficult illusions of mass, weight, undertow and tidal current.

Taking the effects of light on his primary subject may be his way of expressing a belief in a supernatural origin for the natural universe. One gets the feeling that Munsell wants to communicate more about his subject than paint alone can suggest.

Munsell's works have a staying power which gains the more the works are experienced. Like the subject which he undertakes, he seeks to convey the timeless and lasting effects of creation.

Artist's Statement:
"In my painting I am seeking to express the fact of Creation.  That there is a design to the world and cosmos around us.  There are lessons in everything created, which tell us about who this designer is, what He is like and that we can personally know and communicate with Him.  To take it a step further, to recognize historically that He came and lived among us 2000 years ago, showing His great love for each of us, and providing the only way to come back into relationship with Him."

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