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Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. Simonides

Greg Decker

















Greg Decker




Artist Statement

I am influenced by three main impulses, or strains, of painting. One is the bold, colorful, shape-oriented painting of (German) Expressionism, with its broad forms and adventurous composition; by early French (I would call it Classical) modernism of Picasso's Blue/Rose paintings; lastly by the classical realism of Renaissance painting. I really think of painterly form in sculptural terms, and how to embody that through color and light.

In terms of content, I am a narrative painter. Even a still-life or landscape is embedded in story. I do seem my figures as characters in an on-going theater. I tend to be attracted to themes of action and work. The stories that I paint are culled from what I see around me (people carrying things, walking, running), from stories and myths, and from my "inner heritage" of art history. As a child I was entranced by biblical stories. I am most interested in mythology, especially Western mythology, and sometimes I grapple with distinct myths (Europa, Leda and the Swan, the Minotaur myths, etc.); often these myths inform more personal stories which are in my blood.

Advertisements have messages. Paintings have meanings, embedded within the form. Last week I was in the library, and saw the librarian carrying a vertical stack of books, nearly staggering under the weight of the burden. I began to think about that in symbolic terms: the weight of liberating books. Later I made a small oil sketch, which is still in my studio, sleeping perhaps. One day it may re-awaken and stumble into a huge painting with its new burden, transformed into a powerful, patterned figure. May be man or woman, may never awaken.

In terms of patterning: I am blessedly guilty of loving pattern, an unstoppable tendency in all culture(s); some I believe is imbibed from Gustav Klimt, much I am certain comes from the vivid African fabric patterning I saw for much of my childhood, having grown up in Africa (Belgian Congo).

In terms of color: I love color which is bold, but not acidic, bright and intimate. My palette is a simple, mostly Mediterranean palette (warmish), chromatic but, like all good things, rooted in brown.

In terms of form: I am a tonal and chromatic painter, shape-oriented rather than linear. I begin my paintings on a (generally warm-toned) rather dark surface, beginning with lights, then moving to darks. I work fairly "openly", broadly, energetically; but I work the painting in stages, allowing it to awaken on its own terms. For me, control is freedom; technical mastery is essential to great form.

Greg Decker




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Greg Decker

Professional painter currently living outside of Asheville NC.

Teaching experience in New York City for twelve years.

Prolific in painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture.



Born in 1952; Educated Overseas; fluent in French; teaching experience with

The Metropolitan Museum of Art and MoMA NYC 1992-2000

Holds two Master of Fine Arts Degrees; study at Oxford University (drawing) 2003

Study w/ Daniel Libeskind/ Vincent Desiderio/ Martha Erlebacher

Emerging Artist, Arts & Antiques 2002 / paintings reviewed Art Matters 2005

Two extended Fellowships The MacDowell Colony NH 1990/1992



Teaching Experience

Visual Teaching Artist Lincoln Center Institute New York, NY 1992-98

Visual Teaching Artist MoMA / Metropolitan Museum of Art NYC 1992-98




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