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INTERVIEW: Artist Eli Wilner On "Montauk Moments" And More

T.J. Clemente

Wilner's Moonrise. (Courtesy Photo)

Speaking with Eli Wilner about his life-long passionate relationship with creating art was both an honor and an inspiration. A simple assignment to help get the word out about the World Premiere showing of his art work turned into a conversation with a man who is obviously in a very high energy inspirational moment in his creative life and blossoming accordingly.

A newly-curated collection of the Long Island-based artist's exquisite paintings will be on exhibition and available for acquisition in a limited engagement presentation at LaMantia Gallery in Northport.

In his current exhibit, Montauk Moments, Wilner captures the essence of Montauk in a series of landscape, nautical and floral paintings. Two limited engagement, not-to-be-missed Gallery receptions with the Artist for the public have been announced: Friday, October 25 from 6 to 8 p.m. and Saturday, October 26 from 4 to 7 p.m. All artworks are on exhibition and available for acquisition. All events are complimentary and open to the public, however RSVP's are required: 631-754-8414 or james@lamantiagallery.com. A portion of all proceeds from this presentation will be donated to Gift of Life and Semper Fi Fund.

Wilner is very excited about the show. When I asked about why he paints and what does he aim to achieve Wilner explained, "It just comes out of me, I am surprised as anyone when I see the paintings emerge from the canvas. It is a total freedom of expression of what I am feeling in the moment. It's just so exciting."

The artist owns a trophy property on the ocean in Montauk. He has converted one of the buildings on the property into his custom studio, with his preferred lighting, atmosphere with total immediate access to his oceanfront home. He has made a tidy fortune in his world class picture frame business, the huge frame of "Washington Crossing the Delaware" at the Met is an example of his work. It is the largest such frame in the whole Met. "I have done work like that for the best museums, collectors and auction houses all over the world. I was an artist since I was 6, but I had to also make a living," he noted.

Wilner is a unique talent. His knowledge of the present art world and classic art world is encyclopedic. He has a Masters in Art History but what he also has is the heart and soul of an explorer of the art world through what he might create that day in his studio with his paint brushes and acrylic paint. "I like to think I was most influenced by Van Gogh and his brush stroke techniques and then on other days I am in full Jackson Pollock mode," he relayed.

Wilner's Regatta. (Courtesy Photo)

What I was most impressed about Eli Wilner was his honesty in explaining his enthusiasm for creating and his ability to do as he said, "What I want to, when I want to, because my business success has freed my mind to create and create for me and not for some market to make a living."

As for his past, he told this story, "When I was 6-years-old, we moved from Israel to Fort Lee, New Jersey. It was at that time my drawings were getting attention from the family and others. Of course, my uncle, a master framing expert, put them in exquisite frames so they all looked like masterpieces."

I will admit the conversation with Wilner floated about from the beauty of morning watching seagulls greet the new day's sunlight over the Atlantic Ocean from his private beach, his love for his two Rottweilers. He loves Montauk. Always has and always will, he has a slice of what's best about living near the very end of the East End.

Wilner expressed, "I have been blessed. My art is an extension of me, who I am, what I am feeling. I am hoping by showing it to others they may experience what I have experienced creating it."

I for one am very excited and plan to get myself to the LaMantia Gallery to witness Wilner's Montauk Moments.

Montauk Moments will be on view Saturday, October 19 through Sunday, November 3.

LaMantia Gallery is located at 127 Main Street in Northport. For more information, visit lamantiagallery.com.

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