Since my earliest years I have been obsessed with making images of the people, places, things, and ideas that I have a strong response to, so my subject matter is wide-ranging and diverse. Although my style of working has changed and evolved over the years, the reason I paint has not.
I work in and from my studio, which is part of our country home in Cambridge. It consists of one large room and an attached outdoor porch, but I sometimes also use the informal settings of our household as subjects for paintings. I do not and never have used photographs as references for my paintings. I often work from studies done from a source, at times combined with visual memories and/or imagination. I work in acrylic and oil paint, and I do watercolors, woodcut prints, and ink drawings.
I usually work on a painting for a long time, sometimes even for years, before I consider it resolved. As a result of this process, my paintings usually contain highly developed, complicated surfaces, and include a full range of value and color, all the way from white/light to black/dark. I find this process to be critical in achieving the final visual and psychological result I have in mind.
During the early 1970s, when my work first received recognition in the New York City and international art world, it was classified as being part of the New Realism movement. After World War II, non-objective/abstract styles dominated contemporary art until the appearance of Pop Art, which reintroduced recognizable imagery in painting. Many of the figurative/representational painters of the time had started out as “abstract artists,” but this was not the case with me, as I had never worked in a non-representational style, so I was not exactly a “New Realist” because I differed in numerous ways from the typical painter in that school. However, some of the visual discoveries made by first-generation Abstract Expressionist painters (New York school) were influential in the development of my work, such as the importance they placed on composition generally, and specifically, on the relationship of the edges of the painting to the overall composition; the painting’s surface; and the willingness to accept accident as a contributing factor in resolving a painting. Beyond the apparent subject matter that viewers may see in each painting, they can also search out all these elements, which are present in the formal design and execution of my paintings.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1942, Don Wynn has a BFA from Pratt Institute and an MFA from Indiana University. He has been a Visiting Artist at many universities and institutions, including Yale University and the Art Institute of Chicago, and has received awards from the Elizabeth T. Greenshields Memorial Foundation, Montreal; the Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown; and the New York State CAPS Program.
Wynn’s active and diverse exhibition career began with the first of numerous New York City solo shows in 1964. In 1970, his work first received international recognition in the Whitney Museum’s landmark Twenty-Two Realists exhibition. In 1978, he was the first living artist to be given a solo exhibition at the Adirondack Museum. In 1995, the Metropolitan Museum of Art acquired one of his oils for its Twentieth Century Collection (the first Adirondack resident artist so honored since Rockwell Kent).
Wynn was included in the recent Vermont group exhibitions Picasso to Warhol: Paintings from the Sixties and Seventies, at the Elizabeth C. Wilson Museum, Manchester, and in As Others See Us, at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, in company with Alice Neel and Chuck Close, among others. His work was recently exhibited in New York City at D. Wigmore Fine Art , and in 2010, his work was included in the National Academy of Design’s 185th Annual Invitational Exhibition of Contemporary American Art, in New York City.
He has been reviewed in The New York Times, Art News, Arts, The New Yorker, Art International, and many other publications and is included in all major fine arts reference volumes in the United States and abroad, including Who’s Who in American Art.
Don Wynn is currently represented by Neumann Fine Art, Hillsdale, New York, and D. Wigmore Fine Art, New York City.