|Steven Glucksberg was born in Munich, Germany in 1952. A
first generation immigrant son of Holocaust survivors, Glucksberg moved to
Brooklyn when he was two years old. He began painting at age three, and has
early memories of flights of imagination that led to his compositing
sculptures of aliens using model car parts. His first exposure to paint came
in the form of viscose model enamels. Glucksberg pursued a BFA at Tuffs
University, followed by a Diploma from Museum School of Fine Arts in Boston,
and an MFA at Pratt Institute. He pursued painting full time and had his
first one man show at a Madison Avenue gallery. Glucksberg apprenticed with
renowned New York photo retoucher Alphonso Villa when he realized he could
not make a living from full-time painting, and later got a job at Stuart
Color. He worked with mural scale duratrans (photo transparencies) cigarette
ads and the like. It was the hey day of Super Realism in painting and
Glucksberg’s experience as a photo retoucher informed his translation of
photo realistic images, from classic cars to Coney Island kitsch. such as
the chrome and gloss of automobiles, to paint. Coney Island was disappearing
fast and Glucksberg worked to record the pinball machines and candy apples
of his early “stomping grounds” for posterity. Glucksberg was among the
first American painters to show work at the Louvre in Paris. Along with
twelve other artists from Karen Lynne gallery, Glucksberg’s Super Realist …
car painting was on display there for two consecutive years. |
Finding release and freedom from tightly constructed realism, Glucksberg expanded the abstract paintings he had been doing on the side. He began a series of large panels using the enamel paints that represented the freedom of his childhood imagination. These Abstract Expressionist compositions came from his "guts."
A recent heart attack and near death experience created a paradigm shift and heightened sense of his own mortality. Glucksberg entered a period of unrestrained freedom to create works again from the recesses of his imagination and from visions inspired form his dreams. He worked fast to record the visions before they faded from memory. "It was like I dove into a swimming pool and hit my head. As far as I am concerned, I was an artist, but until now never knew what it was to really paint,” he says. Glucksberg has returned to and re-interpreted the figure. “All this stuff that had been lost, came back."
The viewer of these monumental works in enamel is made to feel they’ve intruded into a strange new world of alien heads and plant-animal morphic forms, squeezed hearts, interlocking figures in struggle, angelic apparitions and shadowy forms from the dark recesses of the imagination.