“People often talk about their dreams. In this series, I turned inward with a desire to express my dreams on canvas. I’m not a poet. I’m a painter.”
Jeff Newman explores the relationship between Darwinian evolution and art. He believes that artists' use of the internet represents a significant shift in human culture, with implications for human evolution.
The evolution of art, from the earliest cave painters to the abstract art of the 20th century, took 64,000 years. However, today, it only takes seconds for a painter on one side of the world to see the work of another painter elsewhere. According to Newman, this immediate access to other artists' work creates a virtual conversation among artists and influences what and how they paint. He asserts that the global connectivity of artists is a driving force behind artistic and, more broadly, human evolution.
Jeff's exposure to art began early in his life, within his grandmother's library, which contained works of Russian academic art and various artistic movements of the 19th and 20th centuries. He received formal training in academic drawing and painting from Iliya Mirochnik, Slava Korolenkov, and the Bridgeview School of Fine Arts in Queens, NY.
In 1968, at the age of 13, Jeff visited his uncle Jim's art gallery, Dilexi, during a family vacation in San Francisco. The gallery was renowned for avant-garde art movements and the artists it represented. During his visit, Jim Newman introduced Jeff to the artists associated with the gallery. Jeff recalls, "I thought I had met the coolest people on the planet and was captivated by everything and everybody there."
Jeff earned his BA in Biology from Creighton University and then pursued an MS in Bio-Systems Engineering at the University of Nebraska. For Newman, science is as integral to his thought process as art. He believes that science and art are creatively linked disciplines that share a common lineage. To illustrate this point, he references the example of asking a child and an adult what the last common ancestor of a dog and a human looked like. While 45% of adults may argue about religion, a child would simply draw a picture.
Jeff's artwork has been showcased in galleries and art shows throughout New York City, including SOHO, the East Village, the Bowery, and Chelsea.
This review was published by Circle Foundation for the Arts © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist