J. Steven Manolis in his Miami studio. Credit: Sargent Architectural Photography.

J. Steven Manolis in his Miami studio. Credit: Sargent Architectural Photography.

Summary

J. Steven Manolis (b. 1948) is a painter in all mediums. His artistic concentration is focused on abstract expressionism with an emphasis on color and the creation of pleasing visual dimensions. He has been a private art student of the renowned artist Wolf Kahn for nearly twenty years. He works year round in his painting studio located in Miami, Florida.

Mr. Manolis is highly involved in the field of visual arts, and was past Chairman of the Advisory Board of the National Academy of Design, and is currently a Trustee of the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont, which conducts the nation’s largest Artist Residency Program.

 

Summary

J. Steven Manolis (b. 1948) is a painter in all mediums. His artistic concentration is focused on abstract expressionism with an emphasis on color and the creation of pleasing visual dimensions. He has been a private art student of the renowned artist Wolf Kahn for nearly twenty years. He works year round in his painting studio located in Miami, Florida.

Mr. Manolis is highly involved in the field of visual arts, and was past Chairman of the Advisory Board of the National Academy of Design, and is currently a Trustee of the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont, which conducts the nation’s largest Artist Residency Program.

 

"Manolis’s mastery of black confirms that he is a modern master, more particularly, a modernisty, as his masterful responsiveness to his medium indicates, and with that an abstract expressionist…"

Donald Kuspit
Leading Art Critic

“We shouldn’t need the Warhol quote to remind us that Bohemia, for all its seductive folklore, is not the only livable workspace in the art world, nor that the art-making brain and deal-making brain may sometimes coexist within the same skill. The J. Steven Manolis story adds a dimension to this narrative. An artist with a business head? No surprise. An artist who creates a radical business model? Surprise.”

Anthony Haden-Guest
Leading Art Critic

"When I first discovered the abstract expressionist work of Miami-based painter J. Steven Manolis several years ago, I immediately saw in his art a special gift that seemed to enhance all his other attributes for attaining serious recognition and monetary success."

Bruce Helander
Leading Art Critic

Artist Statement

From the earliest moment I can recollect I have experienced an unusually strong visual pull toward beauty, proportion, style, and color.

The greatest gift of all in this process has been the development of a close lifetime friendship with Wolf Kahn, artist extraordinaire and master colorist. This friendship has grown over the last thirty-five years. Strategic to my becoming an artist has been twenty-five years of one-on-one private lessons with him, which included open-air pastel studies. He taught me the dynamics and beauty of color and, most importantly, how color combinations and expression literally speak their own narrative language, which when successful take the form of “evoking human emotion.”

Fits and starts and ten years into the educational process of studying with Wolf Kahn, I found my own artistic voice and style. My goal is that every single painting I complete meets my definition of beauty and standards, as well as evoking emotions in me. Simply put, all my paintings are multi-sensory experiences.

My painting sensibilities fall within four theoretical categories: 1) more-is-more 2) less-is-more 3) more-is-less or finally 4) less-is-less. Of course what I love is the end achievement of either “more-is-more” (which is most of my paintings) or “less-is-more” (on rare occasions). I do not complete or begin again paintings that fall into the last two undesired categories.

Throughout my painting process I am always reminded and aware of two artistic guidelines (and quotes) from my mentor Wolf Kahn:

• “Keep painting on that surface until you feel that even one more drop of paint applied anywhere would ruin the painting,” and
• “In painting, as in life, one should always go further than one should go.”

I found my artistic expression through the medium of watercolor in the early 1990s, especially with large-scale highly vitreous multilayer abstract images. Everything I have done since, including my progression to other mediums and surfaces, stems from my initial large-scale watercolor experiences. My artistic desires have been profoundly impacted by the translucency of watercolors combined with the opaqueness of gouache. The fusion of layer upon layer results in a perception of depth and, of course, my version of beauty.

My paintings are always an expression of the conflict between simplicity and complexity. I start every painting with a natural unstructured plan. Then I keep adding on, going further with each image. More often than not this process quickly leads to either a visual conflict/problem, or worse yet, having already gone too far. When this occurs the visual conflict needs to be resolved. Crucial to my approach is the process of solving the visual conflict. I contemplate it in my mind with a game plan, and then undertake the actual solution. Sometimes conflict resolution is not a one-step process. If successful, “visual magic” occurs. For me this pinnacle moment brings me an enormous thrill and tremendous gratification. Past success always breeds hope eternal for each new visual conflict.

Before starting a new work I always have the feelings of high expectation that precede any journey; for the painting process is a journey without a predetermined destination. You have an idea where you want to go but not what the details or surprises might be. As each work progresses I become elated as I discover the rewarding path of the journey! With this also come feelings of possession and responsibility for the work’s continuation, completion, and success.

In the last ten years I have begun to categorize my works in terms of subgroups of images. I did this for two reasons: firstly for the organization of a website and the rational display of my abstract images; secondly for the purpose of visualizing a beginning and an end, and thus refining and creating new images and subgroups relating to my earlier work.

My objective is to make striking diversified color images that are not only beautiful, but also evoke excitement in my collectors. When this occurs, I am thrilled and fulfilled. And I just want to do it again and again. Nothing makes me happier artistically than receiving calls from collectors telling me how much they enjoy living with my paintings.

 

Group & Solo Exhibitions

2017
December 2016–February 2017: Solo Exhibition, The Coral Springs Museum of Art (CSMOA), from December 2016 to February 2017. This is a three-month solo exhibition in the main 5000 s.f. gallery at the prestigious CSMOA, curated by renowned art critic Bruce Helander. Coral Springs Museum of Art, Coral Springs, FL

2016
January: Take Home a Nude, Charity Silent Auction, The Armory Art Complex, West Palm Beach, FL
February: Solo Exhibition Color Matter, curated by Bruce Helander, Paul Fisher Gallery, West Palm Beach, FL

2015
February: Art Wynwood, Wynwood Art Group Gallery booth, Wynwood, Miami, FL
April: Solo Exhibition, Color Rhapsodies, Special collaboration with Fred Love featuring LoveManolis, Wynwood Art Group Gallery, Miami, FL
July: Art Southhampton, Wynwood Art Group Gallery booth, Southampton, NY
December: Solo Exhibition, J. Steven Manolis Art Studio & Gallery (Biscayne Studio), Miami, FL
December: Group Show, Wynwood Art Group Studio & Gallery, Little Haiti, Miami, FL

2014
June: Composition, Art competition show by Guest Juror Eric Brown (artist and co-owner of Tibor de Nagy Gallery in New York City), East End Art Council, Riverhead, NY
September: Solo Exhibition, Living Color, and his book launch "Delight in Color", Chase Edwards Contemporary Fine Art, Bridgehampton, NY
December: Select Art Show, Wynwood Art Group Gallery booth (Art Basel/Miami week), Miami, FL
December: Group Show, Wynwood Art Group Gallery, Wynwood, Miami, FL

2010
August: Meet The Artist, art group show, Karyn Mannix Contemporary Gallery, Hampton Road, Southampton, NY
September: The Last Picture Show, group show, Karyn Mannix Contemporary Gallery, Hampton Road, Southampton, NY