James Lourie

I have lived and worked on the West Coast for the past 40 years. Raised near New York City, at 15, I visited an art history class at Columbia University. I was totally enthralled by the color vibrations of the Post-Impressionist slide show.  At 17, I begged my father to let me study art in Spain, and in the summer of 1969 I began my journey into the world of art.

I enrolled in the Sculpture program at the University of Valencia Art School with one of the best sculptors in Spain. I will never forget my teacher repeating these words while chopping and cutting with his hand motions, " geometr­a, geometr­a, siempre geometr­a." This was my first introduction to the importance of geometry and the underlying structure of art. Later, while falling in love with Cezanne's paintings, I saw just how important geometrical scaffolding is.

When I was at Columbia University as a graduate student in New York City, I took classes at the Arts Students League and bathed in the art of the greatest museums in the world. It was then I decided to become a painter.

I like the world more when I paint. Energy becomes visible. I see vibrations, variety and contrasts in the tangle of vines meeting the quiet sky, the pink petals against a gray green branch, and the light over the hill. Line, color, shape spark a world of opposites in fine relationship.  

Every painting is a journey into the unknown. Whether painting with watercolor, acrylics or oils on paper or canvas, I begin with drawing in charcoal or paint, setting up a structure intuitively. Then little by little I add or subtract paint, stepping back and forth to see the new relationships of balance, rhythm and movement. I proceed quickly at first and then slower later on. After a while, as the work becomes more difficult, I continue the effort of getting out of the way, hearing what the painting needs, and trusting the process. I listen to music when I paint. I care about rhythm and touch. I want the viewer to feel wildness and order simultaneously. 

No matter how gestural or energetic the surface, there is an underlying structure in all things.  I am always paying attention to "geometria," even when I am wild and vigorous with my brush strokes. For me, abstract painting offers the greatest opportunity to let go of my ego and pour my larger self into my work. Painting abstractly frees my imagination, and I am then able to widen perception, deepen feeling, and think more clearly.

Painting is my journey into source. Art is the frontier where my inner presence and the outer world meet. The more aware, honest and present I am, the more that presence will live in my paintings. It is my greatest goal to be direct and transparent.

I want to create poems of color, light and abundant energy.

EDUCATION

Columbia University, New York, NY - Master of Arts
Pacific Oaks College, Pasadena, CA - Post Graduate Studies
University of Washington, Seattle, WA - Bachelor of Science, Geology

Pratt Fine Arts Center, Seattle, WA
The Grand Chaumiëre, Paris, France
Art Students League, New York, NY
University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain

AWARDS

Fulbright Scholarship: 1984