- Continuing with our artist profiles of artists both living and working in the Hamptons, our next artist is Jeff Muhs
, who lives in Southampton.
Jeff Muhs was born in Southampton in 1966. His father, an artist and third generation hunting and fishing guide, instilled in him an intimate knowledge of the local natural environment. Thus, the barrier beach of Long Island's south shore would later become the heart of the inspiration for Muhs's work.
It was in those early years that Muhs, also a sculptor, first learned the art of wood sculpting from his father. It is this traditional and exacting art form that developed in Muhs a dedication and penchant for excellence which he has carried throughout his life.
Muhs attended the School of Visual Arts (1984-1988) in New York City
, where he received his B.F.A. It was there that he had his first formal art training and developed the techniques and tastes that would later shape his artistic aesthetics.
Through his own analysis of art history and what he learned Muhs began the evolution toward what his work constitutes today.
"The Splendid Alliance" (38 x 45).
Largely known for his work as a painter, Muhs has exhibited in galleries, collections and museums nationwide. Continually inspired by the light and water and horizon that surround him, his painting has undergone an evolution from its beginnings of literal depictions of his environment through a journey of synthesis and simplification, roughly paralleling the history of 20th century art. The same subject matter is used for inspiration, but the works are reduced to the point of abstraction
, with a modernist touch.
Recently set on re-exploring his sculptural background through the vast array of refuse and industrial materials, Muhs relates our connection to, and stewardship of the environment through the creation of biological and marine forms.
When did you start making art and what medium(s) do you consider to be your roots in art?
I started making art as a child. Wood carving for sculpture and watercolor for painting.
What is it about the Hamptons that brought you here and enticed you to stay, work, and pursue your art here as opposed to some place else?
"The Progression of Form."
I am from the Hamptons. Born and raised in Southampton. It is this beautiful area that we live in that is ingrained on my visual imagination. It is the artistic community; the artists and the supporters of the arts. I believe you couldn't find these things in any other place, like we have them here.
How do you support yourself as an artist?
Through the sales of my artwork.
Why live and work in the Hamptons as opposed to elsewhere?
I tried Idaho but it didn't work out for me....lol.
What local environmental or historical aspects of the Hamptons do you relate to that may be reflected in your medium?
In December of 1992, the storm known only as the Nor'easter, raged into eastern Long Island and nearly wiped out the section of barrier beach that is now known as Westhampton Dunes. The Atlantic
Ocean connected with Moriches Bay and more than 50 homes were completely destroyed and many others were left barely standing or buried by the sand and water. These homes, telephone poles, and trees were washed away leaving a unique, nearly barren landscape with 360 degrees of unobstructed horizon. An avid fisherman, I began to spend most of my time exploring the new landscape by kayak. Virgin marshes and tidal flats exposed themselves and the unobstructed vistas revealed the amazing beauty of light, sky, water, and horizon. From this perspective I witnessed the particular scenes and extraordinary events that shaped my artistic aesthetic.
What artists do you feel have influenced you and your work?
Not in anesthetic sense, but these are regional artists that I admire and learn from, including Dan Rizzi, John McCuiney, and Paton Miller
What advice would you give an emerging artist?
To learn your craft and your art history from the ground up, in a traditional manner.
What gives you an edge (if any)?
My edge is that my talent and abilities encompass a wide range of disciplines.
What are you working on now, and are you involved in any upcoming shows or exhibitions?
I am currently re-exploring my sculptural interests in a variety of concepts and materials, including figurative sculpture, sculptural furniture design and sculptural paintings. In 2011 I will have exhibitions in Brazil, Milan, New York and California.
For more information on Jeff Muhs go to www.jeffmuhsstudio.com
, or www.mcneillartgroup.com
"Tales of Wild Orchids" (48 x 57).
Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.