Abstract artist’s final work at Butler branch Jenkins exhibition


What: Paul Jenkins exhibit

Where: Trumbull branch of The Butler Institute of American Art

When: Sunday through May 17

Staff report


The Butler Institute of American Art will display the last works created by well-known abstract painter Paul Jenkins (1923-2012) in an exhibition that opens Sunday at the Trumbull branch, and runs through May 17.

Suzanne Donnelly Jenkins, the artist’s widow and organizer of this Butler exhibition, is expected to attend the opening reception Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m.

The event and admission to the Butler’s Trumbull branch, 9350 E. Market St., are free and open to the public.

“Paul Jenkins: A Tribute” features 24 large-scale, acrylic-on-canvas paintings. The works display the unique intense colors and paint-pouring application that gained Jenkins a reputation as an innovator and internationally honored artist.

“The paintings of Paul Jenkins have come to represent the spirit, vitality and invention of post-World War II American abstraction,” said Louis Zona, director of the Butler. “Employing an unorthodox approach to paint application, Jenkins is as much identified with the process of controlled paint-pouring and canvas manipulation as with the gem-like veils of transparent and translucent color which have characterized his work since the late 1950s.”

Born and raised in Kansas City, Jenkins moved to Youngstown, where he spent his teenage years. Drawn to New York, he later became a student of Yasuo Kuniyoshi at Manhattan’s Art Students League and ultimately became associated with the Abstract Expressionists, inspired in part by Jackson Pollock and other painters of the movement.

An ongoing interest in Eastern religions and philosophy, the study of the “I Ching,” along with the writings of Carl Gustav Jung prompted Jenkins’ turn toward inward reflection and mysticism which dominated his aesthetic as well as his life.

A full-color catalog with entries by many American art writers accompanies this show. The catalog is available for purchase in the Butler’s museum gift shop.

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