Joel Janowitz

Joel Janowitz

Fellow: Awarded 2013
Field of Study: Fine Arts

Competition: US & Canada

Joel Janowitz investigates how pictorial space can carry meaning and psychological charge.  Throughout his career he has painted in series to explore how color, light, and paint itself develop and change one’s experience of each work, as subject matter remains the same.  His series have included ocean swimmers, greenhouse interiors, water, hands, cafes, Maine porches, and Gloucester quarries.   He focuses on developing his paintings into contemplative spatial encounters.

Janowitz’s most recent paintings consist of a series of Venetian footbridges.  The bridges create simple yet dramatic visual structures that connect the viewer to the pictorial space experienced in the paintings.  In many of these works, steps cross both over and into the canal. Abstract forms of shadows and reflections intersect and coexist with the forms of the bridge. Movement and rhythm extend in all directions while allowing for a quiet, solitary experience with the work.

Janowitz’s paintings create visual spaces that have multiple readings and weave together the representational world with a sense of ones own interior life.  They invite the viewer to linger, drift, daydream, or snap to wakefulness, and contemplate how paint, form, and color create a sense of time, memory, and mood.

Janowitz has exhibited widely, with over thirty solo exhibitions.  His work can be found in numerous public collections, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Brooklyn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Fogg Museum, and the Yale University Art Gallery.

In 2008 Janowitz received his third individual Artist’s Fellowship from the state of Massachusetts.  Earlier in his career he twice received artist grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Janowitz’s teaching includes Wellesley College (2003–2010), Massachusetts College of Art/Fine Arts Work Center Low-Residency MFA program (2006–2010), and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1994–2000).

Joel Janowitz received his B.A. from Brandeis University (1967) where he studied painting with Philip Guston and drawing with Michael Mazur.  He received an M.F.A. in painting from the University of California, Santa Barbara (1969).


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