Jerilyn Jurinek paints American historical subjects, combining the techniques of classical drawing and painting with the vigor of action painting. Ms. Jurinek is one of the few contemporary artists who use narrative to uncover the complex and sometimes conflicting relationships between the people she is portraying and the story she is telling.
Ms. Jurinek is currently finishing work on two books: one, Listening to Old Stones (which began as a power point presentation at the Mulberry Street Branch of the New York Public Library) is a memoir dealing in large part with a pilgrimage to Italy and the impact Renaissance painting, especially the work of Pontormo and Giorgione, as well as Giotto each of whom shared in part her sensibility. It was not only the beauty of the painted surface that captivated Ms. Jurinek, but the sheer narrative power of the paintings themselves. The second book, Against All Odds is focused on the American history paintings of Jerilyn Jurinek and is a work about being a female American artist in our dark and complex time. In it she talks in depth about the narrative process and psychology of these specific works by revisiting painting after painting, works that were done over a period of ten years.
Ms. Jurinek teaches “Drawing for Theater Designers” at Rutgers, Mason Gross School of the Arts as well as figure drawing at the Spring Street Studio and the New York Public Library. Next year she hopes to teach with Maestro Francesco Santoro, internationally known fresco painter and art historian, at the School of Renaissance Art in NYC.
With her husband, Dan Merrill, and author Geoffrey Riggs, she has formed a theater company called “American Crisis Players.” This past year they produced a play by Dan Merrill, “May It Be To The World,” dealing with the correspondence between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson after their political careers had ended. It was performed to acclaim at Jefferson Market Library this past September.
Ms. Jurinek has a BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago. While there, she studied Hans Hofmann drawing techniques with Elizabeth Rupprecht and etching with Vera Berdich. She also took courses at the University of Chicago. Later, she received her MFA at Columbia University in New York, where she studied with Esteban Vicente, Ronald Bladen, Leon Goldin, and Tony Harrison; she also studied Art History with Miyeko Murase, Theodore Reiff, and Meyer Shapiro. Her wide range of studies includes a course in anthropology taught by Margaret Mead.
Since 1978 Ms. Jurinek and her husband Dan Merrill have lived in a loft on Greene Street. (Gen. Nathaniel Greene was an officer under George Washington in the Revolutionary War).