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 invites us to immerse ourselves in living nature and vibrant color – passionately perceive them, submit to them, as he does… Manolis is libidinously invested in color, that is, his art bespeaks the pleasure principle, which as Freud said, functions ‘to reduce psychic tension that has arisen from drives pressing for discharge’… Black is another color, as Matisse said, and 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
New York City

    “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

    “J. Steven Manolis’ works are simply outstanding! His strong play of colors and the emotion that he portrays are amplified by the scale of his work. His paintings pull the view into his world” 

Shalini Nopany, Vice President. Institute of Fine Arts, India

   “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

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