Art Historians, Curators, and Critics Donald Kuspit, Anthony Haden-Guest, and Bruce Helander
form a panel to discuss and review the Abstract Expressionist Paintings of J. Steven Manolis,
exhibited at the Coral Springs Museum of Art.

Collectors, Artists, Critics and friends share their thoughts on the artwork of J. Steven Manolis gathered and shared here in this pdf excerpt from Manolis’ book “Painting Vermillion Red II” celebrating his solo museum exhibition at the John A. Day Art Gallery at the Warren M. Lee Center For The Fine Arts at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD.

“When it comes to Color, and the intellectual pursuit of ‘Communicating Through Color,’ Wassily Kandinsky’s long-awaited heir-to-be is J. Steven Manolis, whose works signal an ebullient 21st-century renaissance of the long-absent glories of Abstract Expressionism.”

— Donald Kuspit, Leading Art Critic

“When we met, Steven explained to me that his purpose as an artist was to evoke beauty, happiness and emotions through his art. His Constructions—the installation of multiple canvases as one large scale work of art—explore in one or more colors the artist’s interest in eliciting an emotional response in the viewer. The resultant monumental paintings are a triumph!”

— Mary Bower, Museum Executive Director, The Evansville Museum

 

“When you first encounter a monumental Manolis work, you realize that you are observing something particularly rare in magnitude and dimension that takes a master artist to paint successfully as an engaging picture and also to visually make sense from a distance.”

— Bruce Helander, Leading Art Critic

 

“A trajectory of Manolis’ current work reveals that the artist has scrupulously mastered and applied both the techniques and chromatic relations identified with celebrated artists………. besides Jackson Pollock, we find elements of Frankenthaler, Lee Krasner, Dubuffet, Adolph Gottlieb and Clyfford Still. As Manolis’ work chooses and dominates so many of the signature methods of his forbearers it is still remarkable that the artist elicits a dynamic depth that we associate with Hans Hofmann.”

— Drew Hammond, Leading Art Critic

“The splendid art of J. Steven Manolis is exactly that. Each and every piece generates an energy that is at once explosively physical and evidence of a sharp mind at work. Like the birth of a world.”

— Anthony Haden-Guest, Leading Art Critic

“Indeed, Manolis’ color-saturated abstractions breathe fresh life–fresh feeling–into abstract expressionism… He’s a modern master…”

— Donald Kuspit, Leading Art Critic

“J. Steven Manolis’ lyrical yet powerful and passionate painting is a rhapsody; it’s not a rhapsody in blue as Gershwin would have it, but a rhapsody in maroon, with hints of burgundy, violet, oxblood, crimson and yes, a minute but intriguing Josef Albers-derived single square of periwinkle blue. Although Manolis paints in a myriad of hues, I associate the American abstract expressionist most closely with the color red, a sort of talisman for the artist. ”

— Elizabeth Sobieski, Leading Art Critic

 

“J. Steven Manolis, following in the path of his teacher, the great colorist Wolf Kahn, uses color ebulliently and expressively in his abstract compositions. Small paintings spur his imagination and initiate his large-scale watercolor and acrylic paintings. Manolis’ work evokes the spirit of nature and a life in which color matters.”

— Annette Blaugrund, PHD, Independent Curator,

Former Director of the National Academy Museum

“We shouldn’t need the Warhol quote to remind us that Bohemia, for all its seductive folklore, is not the only livable workspace in the art world, nor that the art-making brain and deal-making brain may sometimes coexist within the same skill. The J. Steven Manolis story adds a dimension to this narrative. An artist with a business head? No surprise. An artist who creates a radical business model? Surprise.”

— Anthony Haden-Guest, Leading Art Critic

“When I first discovered the abstract expressionist work of Miami-based painter J. Steven Manolis several years ago, I immediately saw in his art a special gift that seemed to enhance all his other attributes for attaining serious recognition and monetary success. It seems that everything positive is happening to Manolis, as his fast-paced profession skyrockets with accolades and prestigious exhibitions, gaining the thrust, inertia and power that correlates to a rocket ship taking off…”

— Bruce Helander, Leading Art Critic

Manolis’s mastery of black confirms that he is a modern master, more particularly, a modernisty, as his masterful responsiveness to his medium indicates, and with that an abstract expressionist… Indeed, Manolis’s color saturated abstractions breathe fresh life – fresh feeling – into abstract expressionism… They are as forceful as – and less forced than – the embittered gestures of the New York abstract expressionists – indeed, more naturally forceful because they are informed by nature’s spontaneous force rather than human suffering. Manolis’s Miami abstract expressionism is a welcome relief from New York abstract expressionism, and just as authentic.”

— Donald Kuspit, Leading Art Critic

“J. Steven Manolis is one of the foremost practitioners of Abstract Expressionist today, his brilliant brushstrokes as bewitching as those of AbEx forefather Clyfford Still (originally from North Dakota). Manolis’ REDWORLD is a display of passion, productivity and powerful Technique.”

— Elizabeth Sobieski, Leading Art Critic

“Manolis shares a common DNA with other successful artists who have achieved great success and recognition and whose works have become valuable, and now are openly traded as investments. I once asked Robert Rauschenberg what was the secret of his success as an artist? He replied that there was no secret. An artist must have a deep inherent natural talent and work like crazy seven days a week. Manolis works eight.”

— Bruce Helander, Leading Art Critic

“His work creates a unique experience for the viewer. Each painting is an interaction between the viewers’ conscious and unconscious mind with Manolis,’ as interpreted through the viewers own particular lens. These universal symbols, according to Jung, are recognized by everyone’s unconscious mind.”

— Natalie Moore

“All the Redworld paintings are depictions of Manolis’ inner life—symbolic self-portraits, in which the internal objects that inhabit his psyche and compose his self are represented in abstract form. His Self-Portrait confirms my interpretation: it is a group portrait, that is, a communal collective of his internalized family, and as such a portrait of his deepest self. The geometrical signifiers dominate the paintings; the red color field becomes their atmospheric backdrop, perhaps an abstract version of what in sacred art is called a “field of honor.” It confirms that the paintings are visionary, and suggests that the members of his large family—Manolis needs to make large paintings to contain them all, to contain his complex, dare I say contradictory, feelings for them—are sacred to him, and that in some uncanny way, the Redworld they inhabit is heaven. ”

— Donald, Kuspit, Leading Art Critic

“There’s so much well-made but facile, unfelt abstraction around these days that it can come as a shock to be confronted by the real stuff. And that’s what J. Steven Manolis unfailingly provides. Each and every piece generates an energy, which is at once explosively physical and evidence of a mind at work. Like the birth of a world.”

Anthony Haden-Guest
British-American writer and art critic.
The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Slade Business Journal
New York and London

“As an art journalist and curator, I have observed with considerable amazement the meteoric ascension of J. Steven Manolis’s professional reputation and accomplishments, critical acclaim and outstanding recognizable work. When you combine natural born talent, superb instructions, burning ambition and a flare for dramatic and singular eye-popping color compositions, the recipe has, not surprisingly, produced and obvious winner!”

Bruce Helander
Former Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Rhode Island School of Design,

Former White House Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts
New York and West Palm Beach

“J. Steven Manolis is a modern master; more particularly, a modernist, as his masterful responsiveness to his medium indicates, and with that an abstract expressionist”

Donald Kuspit
Renowed Art Critic and Historian

J. Steven Manolis is one of the foremost practitioners of Abstract Expressionism today, his brilliant brushstrokes as bewitching as those of Ab Ex forefather Clyfford Still (originally from North Dakota). Manoli’s REDWORLD is a display of passion, productivity and powerful Technique.”

Elizabeth Sobieski
Former Contributing Editor, The Art Economist; Art writer, The Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan
New York and Los Angeles

“J. Steven Manolis, following in the path of his teacher, the great colorist Wolf Kahn, uses color ebulliently and expressively in his abstract compositions. Small paintings spur his imagination and initiate his large-scale watercolor and acrylic paintings. Manoli’s work evokes the spirit of nature and a life in a which color matters.”

Annette Blaugrund, PHD
Former Director of the National Academy Museum, New York, NY

“The richness and complexity of J. Steven Manolis’ work provides an intense intellectual look into the depth of the artist and his journey. The genius he has discovered within himself is a gift to us all”

Julia Andrews, Executive Director, Coral Springs Museum of Art

“J. Steven Manolis energized The Gallery at Center for Creative Education with his remarkable Splash paintings. CCCE utilizes The Gallery space as a tool to help teach, inspire and foster the importance of the arts in the world around us. We welcomed Steven’s paintings, which combined energy and emotion through the use of color and movement, on both a small and large scale, something our students can take with them as they develop their own artistic abilities well into the future”

Jonathon Ortiz-Smykla, Gallery and Marketing Manager Center for Creative Education, West Palm Beach

“J. Steven Manolis in his art demonstrates a laudable ambition that allows him to achieve the greatest freedom”

Wolf Kahn, Painter

“I watched J. Steven Manolis enter the world of painting, and since I’ve known him, he’s developed very quickly and masterfully. I’m thrilled and inspired to see his many successes as a fellow painter”

Hunt Slonem, Artist, Brooklyn

“There is only one thing pleasurable than viewing J. Steven Manolis’ panoply of explosive yet calming, sensual and appealingly colorful works, and that is observing and being engaged by what I call the Manolis “Improv-Dance!” There are the movements he performs as he gracefully applies and administers the combinations of colors and layers that eventually create his works. Being exposed to both the process and the end product is a gift”

Miles Slater, Sculptor

“J. Steven Manolis is an inspirational artist who breaks the barrier when it comes to passion, dedication and creativity. His art conveys the rich and brilliant tapestry of his life.”

Jill Krutick, Painter, New York

“Over the years, as I embarked on my career as an architectural photographer for the rich and famous, I observed some of the best Contemporary art the world has to offer, including works by Picasso, Rothko, de Kooning, and Jackson Pollock. And now that I have photographed the painting of J. Steven Manolis, I feel that they are every bit as accomplished and just as exciting. I would love to encounter a Manolis in every that photograph!”

Kim Sargent. Sargent Photography

“J. Steven Manolis’ palette skillfully transitions from one color to another. He masterfully shifts from red to blue to whatever hue he wants for a particular painting; all have enormous energy and vibrancy.”

Immi Storrs, NA, National Academician. The National Academy of Design, Sculptor & Painter

 

 

“J. Steven Manolis is a master of color, and full of sensitivity. Everything you can expect from a great artist, a highly reliable professional and a wonderful human being.”

Michel Santi. Art trading & finance – Switzerland

“J. Steven Manolis is truly one of a kind. When you meet him, there is a calming aura when you are in his presence, and it is reflected in his amazing work. His art speaks to me, and I enjoy looking at it every day when I need some balance. I am looking forward to adding new pieces to my collection.”

Adam Goodkin, Publisher, Simple the Best Magazine

 

 

“South Florida, and especially the City of Miami, is very fortunate to have local start J. Steven Manolis as a resident artist, businessman and muse. As local collectors and museums acquire his wonderful paintings, we all benefit”

Peter R. Ehrlich, Jr. Co-Founder, Scenic Miami. Miami, Florida

 

 

“J. Steven Manolis is a force of nature. To experience his language of color and form is to open your mind to his timeless message and raise your psyche to new levels of awareness. I have known few artists with such power of expression and with such ability to impact their audience.”

Daniel S. Mckitrick, PH D. Professor Emeritus. Graduate School of Psychology, Pacific University.

 

 

“A J. Steven Manolis painting will light up any room – his vibrant and characteristic use of color and patterns create a modern yet timeless aesthetic that immediately catches the eye. Every piece is inspiring and relatable. We are proud to be Manolis collectors!”

Daniel Benavides and Carla Isaias. Partner, Shutts & Bowen LLP, Miami, FL

 

 

“The art J. Steven Manolis is pure genius! His abstract paintings happily communicate to us in a very exciting way, every day. They have remarkably and aesthetically transformed the look and feel of our antique English Barn space in Southampton, New York.”

Christl & Kenneth Meszkat

 

 

“If music is the passion, then lyrics are the soul. So, too, it is with color on canvas J. Steven Manolis carries art’s libretto yet another step forward”

David B. Brode, Brode Asset Management; Theatrical Producer

 

 

“If music is the passion, then lyrics are the soul. So, too, it is with color on canvas J. Steven Manolis carries art’s libretto yet another step forward”

David B. Brode, Brode Asset Management; Theatrical Producer

 

 

“J. Steven Manolis love of life and all things creative has shown since our early days together in South Dakota as a musician and artist. His sophisticated, abstract paintings today show that same excitement through vivid combinations of color and technique that distinguish his work – inviting the viewer to experience the pleasure it brings without hindrance.”

Gary Myers, Professor Emeritus of English. Mississippi State University, Young Harris College, Georgia

 

 

“Congratulations to J. Steven Manolis on his new career as a successful artist. We have one of his early works, and are very happy about the recognition he is receiving.”

Harry and Gail Theodoracopulos

 

“J. Steven Manolis is a rare painting commodity, producing amazing color-filled works in an array of sizes. When one wants to dramatically improve the décor in one’s room, we suggest adding color, and there simply is no one better for color that the extraordinary and magnificent Abstract Expressionist painter, J. Steven Manolis”

Brian S. Long, Déjà vu Décor, Co-owner. Miami Design District, President BL-PR Inc

 

 

“J. Steven Manolis uses creativity, brilliant colors and vision to clearly and unequivocally stamp out his mastery of abstract expressionism. Rich colors, innate application and commitment to excellence destine him for artistic greatness that is yet unheralded!”

LT. GEN. (RET.) and Ambassador (RET.) Dell L. Dailey

 

 

“For over two decades, I had the privilege to witness the art of J. Steven Manolis. His artistic skills go beyond the abstract category, as the audience sees layers of paint creating an unforgettable tri-dimensional masterpiece. Steven is passionate about colors, driven by his flight of imagination that manifest into beautiful splashes of reality.”

Alex Vignoli. Alex Vignoli Studio, Miami, FL

 

 

“J. Steven Manolis lives in many worlds of color. I am thrilled that for my home he painted a major work that reflects what I love about my life in Laguna Beach. The color of the water at my home is extraordinary, and he captured the glorious blue of the Pacific with all its undertones and overtones, just like the gran master of abstract expressionism, Jackson Pollock. He is an amazing talent that the world is blessed with, and I feel very lucky that he has captured the qualities of where I call home.”

 

 

“J. Steven Manolis lives in many worlds of color. I am thrilled that for my home he painted a major work that reflects what I love about my life in Laguna Beach. The color of the water at my home is extraordinary, and he captured the glorious blue of the Pacific with all its undertones and overtones, just like the gran master of abstract expressionism, Jackson Pollock. He is an amazing talent that the world is blessed with, and I feel very lucky that he has captured the qualities of where I call home.” 

 

 

“A true painter, passionate and dedicated to color. J. Steven Manolis is steadfast on continually discovering and immediately sharing the deep rewards that a life with art reveals.”

Dan Ellis, Designer. Brooklyn, New York

 

 

“J. Steven Manolis had the rare opportunity to study for many years under master colors Wolf Kahn, and under him, Steven learned to master the visual power of color. But Mr. Kahn now has the privilege of watching his student become a master, as Steve attacks the canvas with emotional intensity, passion and blistering intellect through his visually arresting abstract works.”

Matt Shanaberger, Chief Executive Officer. Montecito Peak advisors, Montecito, California

 

 

“I have known Steven Manolis since high school, when our passion for music brought us together to form a rock band. We developed the Torres into a touring group and took it on to the University of South Dakota, touring and recording during that time. I have seen Steven’s early passion for music reflected in his art over the past decade. His development as a colorist has been impressive as his work has achieved national recognition. Helen and I have enjoyed having his work in our home. We are pleased to see his art displayed at the University of South Dakota, where we have many fond memories.”

Fritz and Helen Leigh

 

 

“J. Steven Manolis’ canvases are an explosion of color, depth and imagination. They reflect the syncopated rhythm and mastery of an inquiring soul.”

Al Checchi, Collector

 

 

“I knew J. Steven Manolis was something special when I first met him on the University of South Dakota campus in 1996; he was smart and driven. I felt the same when I first saw his artwork, stunned by its beauty and his flair for presentation. I believed then – and still do – that he will go down as one of the greatest American abstract artists. I am proud to won four of his pieces, and call him my friend.”

Rich Huffman, Lawyer, Land developer and Art lover. Demersseman Jensen Tellinghuisen & Huffman. Rapid City, South Dakota

 

 

“J. Steven Manolis and I have been good friends for over forty years. He was a hugely talented business man who has become a hugely talented artist. I already own tow of his wonderful paintings and over time, will be a buyer of more.”

Mark Field

 

 

“I have been living with several inspirational, abstract paintings by J. Steven Manolis for a number of years now, first in my home in Rancho Santa Fe and now in my home in La Jolla. His work is fresh and alive, and his creativity and sense of color and form have no equal. Steve is an artist whose work and vision will beyond this generation into the next, and, from my perspective, for all time.”

Linda Chester. Linda Chester Literary Agency.

 

 

“J. Steven Manolis has been a loyal customer of Blick Art Materials in Miami for several years. As one of our most active customers. As one of our most active customers, Steven has entrusted us as his ‘go-to’ art supply store in Miami. We appreciate his business and often find ourselves wondering. ‘What is the going to create with ALL these canvases this time?’”

Corinna Burrough, General Manager. Blick Art Materials. Miami, FL

 

 

“Manolis uses color in a unique way. His paintings are splashy, vibrant and very interesting. I find myself stopping to look at his painting in my collection several times a day.”

Ashok Nayyar

 

 

“We believe that the art we display at our film is the ultimate reflection of our sophistication and relentless pursuit of quality. Therefore, it should be no surprise that we have collected works by J. Steven Manolis and have hung them alongside those of other legendary artist such as Andy Warhold. Steven’s translation of the abstract to the physical through his mastery of the watercolor medium sets him apart. His work is not decoration; it is communication.”

Adam Checchi. Checchi Capital Advisers, LLC

 

 

“J. Steven Manolis’ watercolors bring the outdoors indoors, with an explosion of rich and pure colors that can’t help but put a smile on your face. From the flamingos and the parks to the deep blue sea, Steven’s work enables me to have the best of Miami in my home all the time. Bravo on yet another amazing show; I always love to see how Steven pushes the color zones and makes me go WOW!”

Sally Ramirez, Vice President. Raymond James Financial

 

 

“J. Steven Manolis emerges you into a world of color and uncovered depth that you feel compelled towards. His paintings remain with you, like a lucid dream.”

Gregory S. Oberholtzer, Personal Collector. WP Global partners – private Equity Investment Compan

 

 

“J. Steven Manolis’ paintings clearly give us insight into the depths of his multi-faceted and brilliant mind. Each piece has a method to its “Manolis Madness,” which is intellectually transparent yet slightly avant-garde upon completion. His exciting, unconventional and dynamic hybrids of color demonstrate both Manolis’ passion and his confidence in challenging the boundaries of a conventional artistic framework.”

Amy N. Deupi, Founder & CEO, the Martingale Group LLC. World Cup Polo Champion 2012, Miami, FL

 

 

“I’ve known J. Steven Manolis for nearly ten years. He’s one of those people that has immediate impact – when he first showed me his work I was inspired and excited. During the past decade, I’ve watched Steven’s style and method evolve and mature, his passion is infectious. Steven’s “Redworld” philosophy of living is epitomized in his paintings: it’s all about the NOW. Seizing the moment. Squeezing every drop out of each day. I love Steven and I love his work; my life has been enriched and improved by our connection.”

John Carver, Principal Co-Owner, Cunning. London, United Kingdom

 

 

“J. Steven Manolis’ Peony Series, of which I am a proud collector, is such a joy to behold! His artistic color palette and energy are totally inspiring. I’m so proud to call him a friend.”

Susan Gutfreund

 

 

“J. Steven Manolis’ paintings have not only made our home worthy of being on a magazine cover, but his works serve as a constant reminder for us to seek beauty and enjoyment in all that we do.”

Bernie & Marian Cruz, Build Out CO. Florida City, FL

 

 

“J. Steven Manolis is an artist that is truly on the frontier of today’s re-emerging global abstract expressionist art market, exhibiting a bandwidth of contemporary art that I predict will result in an explosion of both desire and price when the two worlds of supply and demand converge in coming years!”

Kristian Stensby, CEO, The Ocean Group. London, United Kingdom and Miami, FL

 

 

“J. Steven Manolis’ paintings are exciting explosions of color that exude energy, spirit and freedom. The vibrancy and sheer power of his paintings will leave you with an uplifting, almost cathartic experience, and keep you coming back for more!”

Elizabeth and Take Doss. London, United Kingdom

 

 

“We have known J. Steven Manolis for thirty-five years, and over that time had watched as everything Steven touched turns into gold. There was no doubt in our minds that the same thing would happen when he started painting full-time. When we bought our Florida condo on the water, we immediate knew that one of his Splash paintings was going to be the centerpiece of our residence. It brings the water from the ocean into our living room, and it truly has become the focal point of our Florida home. Steven’s eye for color is impeccable, and we look forward to collecting more of his beautiful works.”

Linda and Ashley Cooper. Palm Beach, FL

 

 

“J. Steven Manolis’ work and creativity of COLOR and depth brings a positive, uplifting, ‘wow’ factor to one’s daily life. We love your pieces in our house.”

Art & Marcy Falcone

 

 

“J. Steven Manolis’ unbridled passion speaks through his art. Over the past few years, I’ve been amazed at the quality, the energy and the optimism exuded by his art. I smile each time I see a new work!”

Carlos Wolf, MD. Miami, Florida and St. Helena, California

 

 

“J. Steven Manolis’ success is no surprise to me. He had that same relentless ambition to excel in his youth, when we played in our band, The Torres, as he exhibits today in business and his art. Watching him as a teenager play a gig, drive through the night to work a day job, then drive to another gig, it was clear he was determined to succeed at both. Steven continues to apply that same passion today to his art, clearly illustrated by the breadth, diversity and quality of his works.”

Rick Gillis

 

 

“I love color, so immediately I was attracted to Steven’s explosion of colors when I attended his first solo show in the Hamptons. Gary and I are the proud owners of one of his best pieces, which has become the main attraction in our apartment. We love living with his art, and wish him much success!”

Ines Flax

Ines Flax

Marianne and Peter Kircher

 

 

“The richness of J. Steven Manolis’ colors and abstract expressionist gestures have added vitality and life to my office and home, much like his own personality.”

John Fulvio

 

 

“Kandinsky once wrote “Color is a power which directly influences the soul” J. Steven Manolis’ bold and vibrant work harnesses this power, having the ability to change the look, feel and soul of an entire room; indeed, of an entire home.”

Richard Keller and Alexander Lorimer. Zurich, Switzerland

 

 

“There is a balance of energy and intellect in J. Steven Manolis’ work that engages us on a daily basis. Rare is the painting that pulls in your attention every time you pass it, and yet somehow, he has found that singular ground. His work is at once gestural and teeming with energy; technical (I truly don’t understand how he achieves his layers); and planted firmly in the lineage of great color field paintings. However, the play of emotion, motion, geometry and color that he achieves through the transparency of watercolor sets his work apart.

 

Our piece from his California Dreaming series is exhibited so that guest to our home first engage from ta hundred feet away, through the window of our living room as they approach our house. The scale and vivacity encountered at a distance as well, evinced by the fact that anyone who sees his painting in our house always ends up a hand’s length away, experiencing his mastery on the micro level as well.”

Sally Pressman and David Rogers. Los Angeles, CA