Jonathan Wilner is an American artist, born in New York in 1953, who began his studies in Drawing at the Art Students League in 1985 with cartoonist and painter Gregory d”Alessio. It was at that time he took an interest in, and began his study of Japanese Brush Painting (Sumi-E) with sensei Koho Yamamoto mastering some of the basic forms such as bamboo and plum blossoms. He has subsequently studied painting with noted New England shore painter William P. Duffy who resides in Connecticut.
He had exhibited with community arts organization the Alliance of Queens Artists where he served on its board as treasurer introducing fellow artists to the Internet by setting up its first website. As an active volunteer, Mr. Wilner has had the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in grantsmanship and program design. For this community arts group, he wore several hats as board member, accountant, web designer, grant maker with exposure to fund raising, curating shows and the valuation of funding proposals as a panelist for Queens county’s decentralization program.
After retiring to New York’s Catskill mountains, he had devoted his time to painting concentrating on landscapes being surrounded by the scenery which had inspired the Hudson River School painters of the Nineteenth Century. He has shown regularly from 2010 till 2017 at Phoenicia’s The Art Upstairs co-op gallery and has work in local restaurants in that area. Presently in Connecticut, Mr. Wilner works full time in his studio in Bridgeport. His work has shifted from landscapes to mindscapes reflecting what his imagination brings forth incorporating his years of painting but following the dictates of his inner muse.
In Mr. Wilner’s own words, “I began chasing the ghost on the canvas, and the images simply emerged then from my own unconscious mind, and as I had often painted landscapes from imagination, I have come to the conclusion that it is far more effective to simply ‘liberally interpret nature!'” Now, living in West Haven and working in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Wilner continues this inward turn in his portrayal of nature drawing from his imagination. In some of his work, he combines nature with man made buildings. He maintains that the skills required for landscapes are similar to urban challenges, with the latter requiring a feel for architecture. He presently includes traces of human civilization in his depiction of nature. “These come from impressions through the eyes of a ‘visitor’ who has taken snapshots in ‘memory’, of the streets, parks, edifices, and city walls with the ‘intent’ of bringing them back to life in my paintings but also through the imagination” he says.