Paul Gruhler opened his first studio in 1962 at the age of 21 -- a year later he had a solo show at the DeMena Gallery in lower Manhattan. From the beginning, Gruhler, a self-taught artist, was compelled by what came to be known as geometric abstraction, in which the deliberative arrangement of color, line, texture, and scale, in paintings and collage, evoke from these disparate elements a sense of meditative harmony. For sixty years, he has continued to explore the subtle differences that can be made from color and line. Gruhler was fortunate in the early years to have met and become good friends with three older artists who were also important teachers and mentors -- first Michael Lekakis, then Harold Weston and Herb Aach. Lekakis, a celebrated sculptor, who already had had exhibitions at the Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Museum of Modern Art's exhibition Americans 1963, took Gruhler under his wing, navigating him through New York's thriving avant-garde art scene. As Carolyn Bauer writes, "Michael Lekakis was instrumental in encouraging Gruhler to attend art events, while taking him to invite-only museum openings." He also introduced him to renowned artists -- among them, Alexander Calder, Isamu Noguchi, Louise Nevelson, and Barnett Newman -- whose works influenced the young Gruhler, as did such artists as Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, and Ad Reinhardt. Lekakis was also instrumental in Gruhler's first show, giving titles to his paintings and writing catalog copy that drew upon his own abstract poetics. "These canvases," he wrote, are "multi colored fire densely cascades to suspension hanging a counterpoint of rhythmic patterns in space covering it like a shroud united by a golden fragmentation." Over these years Gruhler has had numerous solo and group shows in the U.S. in New York and Vermont, in Mexico, and abroad in Finland, Germany, Sweden, and The Netherlands. HARMONICS is both a retrospective and a current view of Paul Gruhler's intensive art. "My work," he says, "has been a meditative exploration of vertical and horizontal relationships in space, in order to achieve both harmony and tension within color, line and form."--Paul Gruhler "Publisher"
Paul Gruhler grew up in New York City, in awe of the tall buildings and the orderly grid of streets and avenues. His first exposure to fine art was at the China Institute on 65th Street where he attended church services with his parents. There, surrounded by the intense color and abstract forms of ancient Chinese ink paintings and porcelains, he became aware of universal art. During the following years, he traveled extensively and encountered many art forms firsthand - from the ancient to the contemporary -- in Mexico, South America, the Far East and Europe. His work has been exhibited in galleries and museums in Mexico City, Finland, Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden, and throughout the United States
Carolyn Bauer is currently the Associate Curator of the Shelburne Museum, Shelburne, Vermont. After receiving her B.A. in Art History from Lawrence University in 2012, she attended and received her Master of Arts degree in Art History with Museum Training from The George Washington University. After a short Graduate Curatorial Internship at The Phillips Gallery, Washington DC, she started her seven year association with the Shelburne Museum first as Curatorial Assistant, then as Assistant Curator and since June 2019 as Associate Curator.