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After forty-two years working in art education I have arrived at a time in my life when I can devote myself to creating art full-time. My most recent professional title was Dean of Florida School of the Arts and I am honored to say that upon retirement, I was made Dean Emeritus.  Now, orienting my focus exclusively toward painting, I find it’s time to revisit the twists and turns of my artistic history to map out the next phase of life / work balance. 

Graduating from a master’s program in drawing and painting at California State University Long Beach in 1976, I left the US in order to discover what the world held for a young artist. Two years and many destinations later, I landed in Paris with the hopes of studying the great works of art - my desire to soak up the rich resources of history still intact. As fate would have it, the City of Light became my home for the next twenty-four years!

While there I met, among many other artists, op art practitioner and engineer Isia Levant. It was the early 1990s. Levant had spent a fair amount of time pondering the effects of the shape of the eye on perception. His conclusion was that we never see straight lines, not just in nature, but anywhere, as we are unable to perceive them due to the physiological curvature of the eye. Aside from producing interesting ideas on the principles of perspective, this revelation planted within me a philosophical principle that has informed my life ever since. There are no straight lines. Indeed life is not as linear and sequential as one may expect. Living abroad for nearly three decades and calling over twelve cities home, further revealed that “the line” isn’t in the least bit straight.  

When I look at my work I find non-linear elements to be ever present. While abstraction has dominated my aesthetic style, there have also been episodes of figuration. And why not? In the early post war (WWII) era, the idealogical divide was between abstraction and representation. This polarity seems quaint in this day and age. A look around at current art trends reveal every approach possible, mixing and matching methods and techniques ad infinitum, as sought for communicating the intent of the artist. 

My own influences, apart from the many historically important artists such as Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, Helen Frankenthaler, Joan Mitchell, Richard Diebenkorn, Sam Francis and Willem De Kooning to name a few, include friends, teachers and mentors I met along the way. Lee Chesney, Herman Graff, John Lincoln were such teachers and mentors of great character and experience. The list of my contemporary influences is long and no less important and includes Bruce Stadlman, Ian Paterson, Bill Mackendree, Raphael Mahdavi, Keith Long, Jean Noël, David Loeb, Mark Green and Sarah Alexander.    

They all helped me situate my work in the context of contemporary art and in retrospect, enabled my sense of worth by affording me a feeling of shared purpose and legitimacy. 


I sincerely hope you find something in these images that resonates with you. Feel free to leave a comment on the contact page.

All best,

Alain Hentschel

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