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Jay Milder's "Unblotting the Rainbow" Shines in Provincetown

I.A.M. Staff

"Animistic Ark" Jay Milder, Acrylic and Volcanic Ash on Canvas (2015) Notes of Chaim Soutine resonate in Jay Milder’s “Unblotting the Rainbow,” curated by Adam Zucker and on view at the Provincetown Art Association & Museum through Nov 10.

Paintings on view span works both on paper and canvas from the 1950s through to today. While his work first exploded onto the scene with abstract yet boldly expressive brushmarks in the 1960s, his evolution over time prove that he is able to meet the challenge of changing times. The artist's careful attention to Jewish mysticism and the Kabbalah capture the higher consciousness of our immediate reality. Curved, unbroken brushstrokes capture a universal, animated life force.

In addition to being noted by Donald Kuspit as a defining artist of the 20th century, Milder mines influences both modern and contemporary, and his works remain relevant in the present day. Curator Adam Zucker notes, "focusing on [Milder]s use of painterly Expressionism as a means to address physical and spiritual themes affecting the human condition." Milder's ultimately humanist aims in his mostly abstract painting style are compounded by his roots to Provincetown, where this exhibit takes place and where the artist first spent time in a seaside studio in the 1960s.

"Dream House" Jay Milder, Oil on Canvas (1970)

Perhaps Milder's influence is felt as much now as when he began painting in the mid-20th century because of his interest in the ancient. Drawing from a pre-Pythagorean geometry, Milder formulates his paintings according to sacred geometry and shapes. "My work has to do with signs, not symbols," remarks Milder. "When I say I personify shapes instead of doing figures it’s for that very reason. That is the crux of my art, and what I am getting at.”

While many of his works create harmonious blending of abstracted shapes and patterns of intersecting, curving lines and circles, works such as "Dream House" (1970) also capture the artist's approach to more realistic scenes through the veil of dream-like perception. Milder's evolution over time, and his continual international exhibitions, define him as a major modern and contemporary force in American painting.

"Noah's Ark #1" Jay Milder, Oil, Acrylic and Volcanic Ash on Canvas (2002)