"As a realist, I work in a sphere which must function on several different levels simultaneously. Although I have a deep personal connection to the landscape, it is also a vehicle to explore my interest in modern physics, spirituality, and the exploration of light, form, space, and color interpreted with paint. The slice of reality that man is capable of experiencing and the higher reality that permeates time and space is my true subject.
"My artistic influences began during my youth. The Luminist paintings I walked past on the way to art classes at the Boston M.F.A. formed part of my cultural identity. Because of the Transcendentalists’ influence on these painters I became intrigued with the Transcendentalist belief that nature and light in particular were spirituality symbolic.
"As a landscape painter who interprets light, I also developed an interest in the study of modern physics. Coincidentally, as well as signifying spirituality, the particle that gives us light, the photon, is a primary vehicle for physicists to better understand the workings of the universe. My interests in the physical and spiritual implications of light are some of the many reasons why I never work from photographic reference. To paint light, I must paint actual light which is composed of photons. As a photograph contains no photons, it is impossible to interpret real light from a photograph. Additionally, in this age dominated by technology, it is important for me to keep my art handmade with its attendant humanistic flaws and minimal technological intrusion. In order to gain a deeper understanding of my subject, I devote a significant portion of my In addition to its descriptive qualities, I strive to make the paint visually interesting in its own right and confront the duality of a Greenberg conception of a painting’s flatness versus the traditional conception of painting as a means for depicting light, form, and space. Towards this end, I employ a variety of techniques to manipulate the support surface as well as the paint itself. These manipulations present the paint as an entity in itself while at the same time create the illusions found in representational oil painting.
Education: Massachusetts College of Art, BFA dual Major, Fine Art and Education 1980; Robert Cormier, Fenway Studios, Sight Size Figure Drawing 1987-1989.
Awards & Honors: Memberships: Living Master, Art Renewal Center; Elected member, Plein Air Painters of America; Elected Member, Guild of Boston Artists; Elected Fellow, American Society of Marine Artists; Copley Master, Copley Society of Boston; Elected member, Saint Botolph Club. Awards: Guild of Boston Artists, Frank Benson Award, 2017; FASO, Boldbrush Award, 2016; Art Renewal Center International Fine Art Salon, Staff Award and Honorable Mention, 2016; Art Renewal Center International Fine Art Salon, American Fine Art Magazine Award of Excellence, Rehs Award, 2015; America Masters at the Salmagundi Club, New York, Best Display of a Group of Artworks, 2014; Art Renewal Center International Fine Art Salon, First Place Landscape, Purchase Award, and Plein Air Magazine Award, 2014; Guild of Boston Artists, Alden Bryan Award for Excellence in Landscape, 2009; Laguna Plein Air Painters Association; Southwest Art Magazine Award and Patrons’ Choice Award, 2006; Guild of Boston Artists, Grumbacher Award for Artistic Excellence, 1993; Copley Society of Boston, John Singleton Copley Award for Artistic Achievement, 1990.
Selected Publications: Underpaintings Magazine, June, 2017; Art of the West 2014; Plein Air Magazine 2013, 2011; Fine Art Connoisseur 2013, 2008, 2006; American Art Collector 2013, 2010, 2009, 2006; American Artist 2009, 2005, 2007, 2002, 1999, 1998; American Artist Workshop 2007; Cape Cod View 2006; Artists on Art: article by Joseph McGurl, spring, 2001; Sea History 2000; Art Ideas: American Renaissance for the Twenty First Century 1998; Boston Globe 1991; The Review 1989.
Selected Exhibitions: Museu Europeu d’Art Modern, Barcelona, Spain, Art Renewal Center, International Salon 2015; New Britain Museum of American Art, CT, Hamm Collection 2015; Eiteljorg Museum, Indianapolis, IN—Quest for the West 2014, 2015, 2016; California Center for the Arts, Escondido, CA, Legacy of the Land, 2015; Cape Cod Museum of Art, Plein Air Painters of America 2015; St. Botolph Club of Boston, Joseph McGurl Solo Show 2015; Salmagundi Club of NY, American Masters 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2104, 2015; The Cahoon Museum of American Art, MA, A Sense of Place: Location Studies By Joseph McGurl 2004; Vose Galleries, Boston, MA, Realism Now 2004; Haggin Museum, CA, Sea to Shining Sea: A Reflection of America 2004 to 2007; Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, MA, Changing Prospects: The View from Mount Holyoke 2002; Arnot Art Museum, NY, Representing Representation V 2002; Rockwell Museum of Western Art, NY, Representing Representation West 2002; Haggin Museum, CA, Contemporary Artists Paint Yosemite and the Eastern Sierra 2001; Haggin Museum, CA, California Art Club Invitational Show 2001; St. Botolph Club of Boston, Joseph McGurl Retrospective: Paintings from the Past Decade 1999; Forbes Gallery, NY, Sovenir de Normandie 1998; Cape Cod Museum of Art, Evolutionary Realism: Landscapes by Joseph McGurl 1997; Newport Art Museum, RI, Lost Landscapes 1991; Fitchburg Art Museum, MA, Copley Masters 1991; Fitchburg Art Museum, MA, New England Realist Artists 1989.
Solo & Small Group Gallery Shows: Cavalier Galleries, NY, NY, 2015; Hammer Galleries, NY, NY, 2008, 2006, 2005, 2002; John Pence Gallery, San Francisco, 2013, 2005, 2002, 2000; The Guild of Boston Artists, 2011; Tree’s Place Gallery, MA, 2010, 2005, 2002, 2000, 1998, 1995, 1990, 1989; Hollis Taggart Galleries, NY, NY, and Washington, DC, 1997, 1996, 1995.
Selected Collections: Forbes Collection, New York, NY; Cahoon Museum of American Art, Cotuit, MA; Cape Cod Museum of Art, Dennis, MA; New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT; Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Greenburg, PA; Christopher Forbes; Sen. John F. Kerry; Richard Mellon Scaife.
Representation: John Pence Galleries, San Francisco, CA; Palm Avenue Fine Art, Sarasota, FL; Haynes Galleries, Thomaston, ME; Collins Galleries, Orleans, MA; Cavalier Galleries, New York, NY.