(Kansas City, 1923 – New York, 2012)
Paul Jenkins was an American abstract artist and member of the New York School. Jenkins’s innovative practice was characterized by his choice to avoid the paintbrush altogether, instead allowing pigment to pool, bloom, or roll across the surface of his canvases, guiding the paint with a knife to create fluid fields of color, as seen his work Phenomena series.
Born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1923, Paul Jenkins grew up wanting to be artist and on the weekends would work at a ceramics factory, where watching the master mold-maker’s handling of shape and color, he said, had a profound effect on his ideas about painting. After graduating high school, he served in the U.S. Maritime Service and entered the U.S. Naval Air Corps during World War II.
In 1948, he moved to New York City where, on the G.I. Bill, he studied at the Art Students League of New York. During that time, he met Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock and in 1953, after traveling to Europe where he worked for a brief period of time, he decided to reside in Paris permanently and divide his time between there and New York. In 1955, he had his first solo exhibition at the Zoe Dusanne Gallery in Seattle. Shortly after, he participated in his first one person show in New York at the Martha Jackson Gallery. Jenkins is known for his unique and experimental artistic process. By pouring paint directly onto the canvas, he would direct the pigments flow using blade-like devices.