May I Introduce Joseph McGurl?

30 Apr 2011

Light at Sunset by Joseph McGurl, oil painting, 24 x 36.
Light at Sunset by Joseph McGurl, oil painting, 24 x 36.
Joseph McGurl: Weekend With the Masters Instructor

Joseph McGurl has been referred to as one of the acknowledged leaders in the current American landscape painting arena. This has been confirmed by his exhibitions in several important museum shows, a successful relationship with some of the country's leading galleries, and inclusion in numerous magazine articles and books.

McGurl was born in Massachusetts in 1958. He grew up working with his father, James McGurl, who was a muralist and his most influential teacher. He graduated from Massachusetts College of Art with a dual major in painting and education and also studied in England and Italy. In search of a more solid training in drawing, he sought out Robert Cormier, a devotee of the French Academy methods, and studied figure drawing under him. After college, McGurl worked as a yacht captain, sailing throughout the East Coast from Maine to the Caribbean.

The artist’s paintings are often seen in relationship to the great 19th-century Luminist painters but with a thoroughly modern approach to style and subject. For him, the process, rather than the product, is the most important part of a painting. For this reason, his large studio paintings are developed from sketches painted on location. Rather than relying on photography, this method gives him the freedom to create paintings based on his imagination, memory, and his sketches. Although the objects depicted in the paintings are elements of the landscape and have a deep personal meaning to him, an equally important subject is an exploration of light, form, space, and color interpreted through paint.        

McGurl's paintings have been included in several museum exhibitions in Massachusetts, New York, California, and Rhode Island. He had retrospective solo shows at the Cape Museum of Art, The Cahoon Museum of American Art, and the Saint Botolph Club of Boston, and he has participated in many traveling exhibitions and shows. McGurl has been elected to the Guild of Boston Artists and is a Copley Master with the Copley Society of Boston. He has won top awards from both organizations including the John Singleton Copley Award for Artistic Achievement. In addition, he is an elected Fellow of the American Society of Marine Artists and a member of the St. Botolph Club of Boston. He has also been the subject of numerous book and magazine articles. He is represented by Hammer Galleries, in New York City;Tree’s Place Gallery, in Orleans, Massachusetts; John Pence Gallery, in San Francisco; and The Guild of Boston Artists, in Boston.

During the summer months he cruises the coast of New England with his wife and children aboard their classic Alden designed ketch, "Atelier," which he uses as a floating studio; many of his sketches are executed from her decks. After living for several years in Rhode Island, Joseph, his wife Patricia, and sons Max and Sean moved to Cape Cod in 1994. Their home and studio is a restored 19th-century carriage house on the shore of Amrita Island. For more information on McGurl, visit his website.

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Hertling wrote
on 19 Mar 2013 8:27 PM

Just great! I am glad I found you.I have been Plein air painting since the 80s and now have 52 episodes from our TV show  your brush with nature on the web.Converting these half hour sketches into larger studio paintings is my challenge and studying yours is so much help.thank you   Heiner Hertling