Edvins Strautmanis

Edvins Strautmanis was born in Latvia in 1933 and after World War II emigrated with his family to Chicago in 1950.

Strautmanis graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and began exhibiting in 1965. After an exploratory hard-edge period in Chicago, working on paintings, sculptures and monotypes, Struatmanis found himself drawn to the New York art scene.

In 1971, Strautmanis moved to the East coast as so many of his peers had before him, such as Kline, DeKooning and Pollock who had helped set the stage for the abstract expressionist movement in the 1950's. Despite having arrived late to the party, it was Strautmanis who still made the grandest of entrances with his large-scale action paintings.

Edvins Strautmanis

Edvins Strautmanis

Standing above his canvases and working downward; Strautmanis used gallons upon gallons of still-wet paint; pushing, raking, mopping and slamming down his giant homemade tools to create his saturated and dynamic surfaces. Harking the visceral iconology of such classic masters as Van Gogh and Goya, Strautmanis used raw powerful and deliberate movements of his entire body to create pieces that are looming in stature, archistectural in composition, which toe line of refinement and chaos, not unlike the very ethos of New York City itself.

As engaged as Strautmanis was over his canvas, he was just as active in the New York City art scene. The SoHo loft/studio where he lived and worked became a meeting place where he and his fellow contemporaries would gather to discuss art, each others shows, what art critics were saying and the direction these like-minded creatives where taking in their own artistic pursuits. These gatherings were, for the artists establishing themselves, akin to peer review. Strautmanis participated in many group shows as well as more than a hundred solo shows throughout his life.

Starutmanis' paintings are included in many notable collections, including the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Cornell University, the Phoenix Museum of Art, the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota Florida, the Kunsthaus in Zurich and the Latvian Museum of Art in Riga, Latvia.