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Studio Sunday: Jules Olitski

A photograph of Jules Olitski's art studio


Artist Jules Olitski was born Jevel Demikovski, in Ukraine, in 1922. The artist emigrated to Brooklyn, New York in 1923. Growing up in New York, Olitski studied art at various schools and after much experimentation developed the style of thick, heavy abstract paintings that he remains known for today.


Olitski’s studio looks rather dark in this photo, though I suspect that may just be a trick of the photographic flash. Still, the image casts the studio in a rather dramatic light that I think is perhaps fitting of the artist’s paintings.


The works in the studio are all wild compositions of various colours and shapes. Olitski tended toward a kind of intuitive, unplanned method of painting and creating compositions, and that sense of exploration shows through in this series of paintings that may or may not be complete.


Behind the paintings, a few shelves full of what looks like buckets of more paint are visible. These shelves look very organized, and I wonder if that level of organization helped allow Olitski to forget everything else and focus on a meditative, intuitive painting style. In a focused, uncluttered studio, it seems like it would be easier to leave everything else behind and focus on the art-making.


Jules Olitski passed away in 2007 -- his later works, created between 2001 and 2007, were noted for their use of circular forms and high-contrast colour combinations that seem to resolve themselves only when the canvas is viewed as a whole.

[image source]

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

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