As a leader in the contemporary landscape painting movement, Joseph McGurl is one of the most sought after and influential landscape artists painting in America today. This has been confirmed by his inclusion in several important museum shows and his successful relationship with some of the country’s leading galleries. He has been the subject of numerous book and magazine articles and is also the author of several art related magazine articles published in print and on-line.
Joseph grew up working with his father, James McGurl, who is 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. After college, he worked for a period of time as a yacht captain, sailing the east coast from Maine to the Caribbean. In search of a more solid training in drawing, he sought out Robert Cormier, a devotee of the French Academy methods, and for two years he studied figure drawing under him. Joseph synthesizes academic figure drawing skills with sight-size landscape painting resulting in a new and unique approach to addressing the landscape.
Joseph’s paintings may be considered philosophically modernist extensions of the 19th century Luminist painters. His interest in physics and the nature of reality has resulted in a thoroughly modern approach to style and subject. However; he departs from post contemporary modernist conventions by subverting the ego of the artist to achieve greater fidelity to nature. Additionally, he is one of the few contemporary realists who does not include the use of photography in his art.. He is a devoted plein air painter which allows him to connect with the landscape on a profound level and gain a deeper understanding of his subject. Rather than relying on photography, this method gives him the freedom to create paintings based on his imagination, memory, and observation. Although the objects depicted in the paintings are elements of the landscape and have a deep, personal meaning to him, of equal importance is an exploration of light, form, space, and color interpreted through paint.
Mr. McGurl’s paintings have been included in several museum exhibitions in Massachusetts, New York, California, and Rhode Island as well as being exhibited in numerous group museum exhibitions which travelled throughout the country. He has had retrospective solo shows at the Cape Cod Museum of Art, The Cahoon Museum of American Art, and the Saint Botolph Club of Boston. The Arnot Art Museum’s Representing Representation, a survey of the most significant representational work being done today, included his work as an example of contemporary landscape painting. He is in the collections of the New Britain Museum of American Art, The Cape Cod Museum of Art, The Mellon Collection, The Forbes Collection, Christopher Forbes, Sen. John Kerry, and the Cahoon Museum of American Art. McGurl has been designated a Living Master by the Art Renewal Center in New York. He has been elected to the Guild of Boston Artists, was a Copley Master with the Copley Society of Boston, was a fellow with the American Society of Marine Artists, and is a signature member of the prestigious Plein Air Painters of America. His many awards include the Guild of Boston Artists Gold Medallion, The Art Renewal Center’s International Salon First Place in Landscape, American Fine Art Magazine Award of Excellence, The Rehs Award, a Purchase Award, and from the Copley Society of Boston, the John Singleton Copley Award for Artistic Achievement.