Murry Handler


I work primarily in an abstract, minimalist mode, with a preference for the rigors of an austere palette of black and white. My work frequently includes dynamic, sweeping brushstrokes of acrylic paint or black ink on canvas that characterize much of my art. It’s often noted that my paintings convey a controlled but dynamic sense of movement.  Many paintings take shape while I am semi-asleep. When I awake, the painting is usually close to being finished. Then I go into the studio and put my ideas on canvas or paper. The brush and flow find their way onto the surface. Mistakes or accidents often turn out to be fortuitous and usually remain.

Although much of my work is abstract, my creative range is wide. I will from time to time revert to the realism in which I was trained as a young art student in NYC, sometimes inserting realism into semi-abstract backgrounds, sometimes capturing the human figure in a series of nude drawings. My watercolors are executed in hues of brilliant color and are quite playful. My limited edition prints, from a series called ‘Attitudes’, are highly suggestive of figurative art and influenced by Chinese Calligraphy.

No matter how many paintings I have completed, every painting is still an experiment to me. I don’t want to know how my painting will end. I want the surprise of finding the end, sometimes quite by accident.

 I try to reach beyond myself by creating a mental challenge to combine materials that are unlikely to be combined, colors that are unlikely to go well, spatial arrangements that are surprising, and then turn these unlikely components into a finished piece of art that is satisfying to both the artist and ultimately, the viewer. I generally do my paintings in a series, painting 4-12 or more canvases in a particular vein before moving on to another challenge. My work is exhibited nationally in both solo and group shows.

My training in art was in NYC where I studied at The Franklin Institute of Art, figure drawing with Joseph Kelly at Pratt Institute and painting at the Workshop School under the late Joe Hirsh. I had a professional career as an illustrator, art director, graphic designer, adjunct instructor at The Fashion Institute of Technology and Parsons School of Design, and owner of a 14 person design studio.