“From the Window, Rehavia” (Diana Kurz)
“From the Window, Rehavia” (Diana Kurz)
“From the Window, Rehavia” (Diana Kurz)

The Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library is presenting an exhibition of oil paintings and works on paper by the well-known New York City artist Diana Kurz through April 20. The exhibition, which began on March 2, is called “Diana Kurz: Places–A Retrospective” and showcases 23 works spanning the latter part of her long career and inspired by her extensive travels and residencies throughout the United States as well as in Israel.

Although Kurz paints primarily from the human figure and still life, landscape painting from direct observation has always been one of her parallel pursuits. “This is something I have done for over 30 years, whenever I am out of the city for any length of time,” Kurz explains. The works in this exhibition depict places as varied as Israel, Colorado, Ireland, Arizona, New Hampshire, Hawaii, New York City, upstate New York, Georgia, and rural New Jersey.

Although her motifs vary from the grandiose and magnificent, such as the volcano Haleakala in Maui as seen in the bold and vivid Haleakala #6, Early Morning, to the quiet and unassuming, such as the woods of New Jersey as seen in the subtle Woods, Tree Trunks, NJ, there is a unifying theme to her working process. “The process of landscape painting is to me a communication with nature. It is as if I don’t really see or experience a place until I have worked from and in it. It is my way of relating to it–I become transformed through my experience of looking, and what I have worked from can never look the same to me as it did before.” This is communicated by Kurz’s attention to the formal elements of color, shape, rhythm, and space that construct her images, and her focus on the “unspectacular” emphasizes this formalism: “I usually paint that which is around me, close at hand, that which may appear ordinary, unspectacular. I seem attracted to places that have a quality of randomness, and out of which I can create, or find, measurement, interval, space, color, composition,” Kurz says.

Diana Kurz was born in Vienna and lives and works in New York City. She is widely known for her extensive series of works on the theme of the Holocaust, inspired by her and her family’s experiences during those years. These paintings have been widely exhibited throughout the United States, and works from this series are in the permanent collections of Yad Vashem Art Museum, Israel; U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC; Jewish Museum of Vienna; Wien Museum, Vienna; and Bezirksmuseum Josefstadt, Vienna.

Over the past 40 years, Kurz has exhibited her work extensively in solo and group shows throughout the United States and in Europe, most recently (October 2015) a large solo show at Palais Porcia in Vienna, Austria. Her work is in many distinguished private and public collections, including the Rose Art Museum; Corcoran Gallery of Art; Brooklyn Botanic Garden; Hudgens Center for the Arts; Seton Hall University; Rowan University Art Gallery; Savannah College of Art and Design, among others.

Kurz has received numerous grants and awards, including, among others, a Fulbright Grant in Painting to France; New York State Council on the Arts CAPS Grant; American Center Residency in Paris; Austrian Federal Ministry of the Arts; and Atlantic Center for the Arts Residency. She received her B.A. from Brandeis University and M.F.A. from Columbia University.

Diana Kurz: Places–A Retrospective is on view from March 2 to April 20. Hours: Monday—Thursday 9:00 a.m.—9:00 p.m.; Friday 9:00 a.m.—6:00 p.m.; Sunday 12:30 p.m.—5:00 p.m.

For further information, e-mail dkur@earthlink.net or visit www.dianakurz.com.

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