From the Artist
I was six years old when my mother gave me a birthday gift of 3 glass vials of paint with screw tops. One was red, one blue and one yellow. My birthday present came with a scraggly brush.
I haven’t put down that brush in more than 80 years.
I have spent my life creating art in one form or another. After Art School on the G.I. bill; I
studied painting under world masters like Joseph Hirsh at the workshop school in New York City, figure drawing under Joseph Kelly at Pratt Institute, designing and illustrating for America’s foremost companies, CEO of a Madison Avenue design shop to back up the ad agency’s which were weak on creativity, teaching at the prestigious Parsons School of Design and Fashion
Institute of Technology, and my other loves, raising and caring for Bonsai and writing poetry.
I draw upon religion, myths, history and dreams. Many of my paintings take shape while I am semi-asleep in the early morning hours. When I awake, the painting is usually close to being finished in my mind. Then I need only go into the studio and put my ideas on canvas or paper. Sometimes it seems the brush and flow of ink or paint find their own way onto the canvas or paper surface. Mistakes or accidents often turn out to be fortuitous and usually remain as part of the finished creative product. I allow my paintings to develop as a series of happenings. My work has been evolving more and more in recent years into social commentary as I respond to the flood of communications and images that reach me about world and local events, i.e.,
women’s issues, race relations, politics and despoiling the earth.
We all need somewhere to present our work to the world, a window on the world, if you like. Without that window we literally don’t exist. We are grateful to have a gallery interested in what we produce, a gallery which gives us that window. For the most part we, as well as our work, become the product. Keep in mind, this is not a profession that we choose. We are chosen by some combination of gene and brain function that remains a mystery to me.
Artists change over time. There is, or should be, growth from painting to painting. There is, or should be, a different force at different stages that produces new work. Something happened in the corner of your last painting, an accident of movement, a splatter that becomes meaningful and you follow it wherever it leads. You can still see the same hand at work but it is new and refreshing and growth is evident.
It still thrills me when someone stops me and says “are you the artist, are you Murry Handler?
I have two prints hanging in my den that I bought years ago, at such and such gallery and I love them.” That’s all it takes for me to rush home and pick up that brush.