Artist Bio - don wunderlee

don wunderlee
 …. a painting is not a code that needs to be broken it’s a reality that can be used………Sean Scully



Public Mural Project awarded  by the City of New Haven May


Purchase Award Art Comes Alive National Exhibiton Cincinnati OH June

Licensing Award, from StudioEl  and Editions Limited Emeryville CA June


 Artists to Watch monetary award from Windsor & Newton and Rosenstiels Jan

Gift Award by Winsor-Newton and Daler-Rowney and International Publisher Rosenstiels, sponsors of Annual Artists of the Year Awards July

                            SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS




Don Wunderlee       Sept 25 Looking Back Looking Forward 32 works the                        

Atrium Gallery of 360 State Street New Haven the largest Green Living Apartment Complex in Ct


Don Wunderlee       Aug-December New Works 116 Crown Cafe New Haven Ct

                                   SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS




                                     New Artist Smart Start (Facebook Global Broadcast) Curated by:  Cheryl McGinnis Projects, New York, New York August 30


                                     Blink Art Resource Gallery Cincinnati OH April –May


                                    Art Comes Alive Art Design Consultants Gallery Cincinnati   OH June -August




                                    Small Works Annual Exhibition”440 Gallery Curator  JoAnne McFarland Former Director of Exhibitions at A.I.R. Gallery Brooklyn NY Dec 7-Jan 15




                                   the Human Experience   Exhibition of Abstract Painting Tomahawk Community Center Overland Park Kansas Feb 3-March 9


                                    Carriage Barns Arts Center New Canaan Members Exhibition

May 31-June 14


                                    Art Comes Alive, Art Design Consultants Gallery Cincinnati OH

June 20-July 24




                                     H2O: 2nd Annual Exhibition East End Arts Gallery Riverhead NY Aug7-Sept 27

                                     Art about Town, Arts Fair Westport Ct


                                    Small Works Institute Library, curator Stephen Kobasa New Haven Ct  



Don Wunderlee       Co-created with Kiki Smith a 50’ acrylic canvas backdrop for  The puppet production “The One Two Many Pennies Opera   South Orange NJ



Quinnipiac University

                                                 Yale Art Gallery Docent



                                                   Artist Musings
 I think an artist is an observer by nature and I am always looking at my surroundings looking for visual experiences.  I am fascinated by shadows and how they fall in bold outline.Cracks in cement on walls and tar repair lines in the street often get me to stop and study with fascination. Random patterns grab me in the moment. These moments help to feed my idea-bank. My work is essentially an improvisational experiment through color and line.
Read the full article: Public Mural Unveiled | New Haven Independent
"Garden Wall" public mural can be seen in the video above. An edited version of a recent article referencing my work is below:

Fine Lines

by Kathy Leonard Czepiel, for The Daily Nutmeg
56 blocks of chunky window glass. Gold stripes on a chartreuse couch. Squared-off floorboards from amber to auburn. Don Wunderlee’s Westville studio is alive with lines, most notably the wavering horizontals and verticals of his acrylic paintings.
Less than a block away, his recent public mural, Garden Wall, appears as a fascination on the retaining wall at the corner of Blake and Whalley—a surprising shift from sage green concrete to the colorful pastel grain of what might be a fantastical wooden wall, complete with knotholes you may be tempted to peek through.
Intermittent sunlight superimposes the shadows of nearby leaves, adding to the impression that there really might be a garden there, just beyond.
Back across Blake, inside the studio he keeps at West River Arts, Wunderlee’s work takes on more oranges, reds and golds, more texture and compressed tension. Enlivened by the scale of Garden Wall—larger work “commands,” he says—he’s going bigger in general, despite the limitations of a workspace where he can’t take more than 10 steps back
One large piece, a square 72-inch work in progress, hangs on the wall, its lines unfinished, some dripping their colors. Such happy accidents will likely be visible in the finished work. “I like to leave the editing in there,” Wunderlee says. “I like to show the notes, and the side notes… because it’s part of the personality of the painting, and my process.”
It’s no mistake that Wunderlee uses musical words like “notes.” In addition to being a painter, he plays lead guitar in the local cover band The Inflatables and teaches at Neighborhood Music School.
“Improvisation,” he calls both painting and music-making. And yet, he says, there’s something more “primitive” about working with paint on canvas. “When I’m playing guitar, I’m listening to the note structure,” he says. “The Western tradition so influences us as listeners, in terms of what’s melodic and harmonic.” There are rules, or at the least the perception of rules.
But painting, Wunderlee says, is more open-ended. “I can dip my hand in paint and just go on the canvas that way. Wow. I don’t see [how] that’s wrong… Why should there be rules?”
None of the hand-rendered lines that are Wunderlee’s signature of the moment run straight. Those in his studio piece Summer Longitude suggest the slightest bow, as of a distant horizon. The lines of Orange Strata II are ragged and raw at the top of the canvas but cool into soothing strokes that conjure pink sand.
Wunderlee’s career as an artist has taken its own wandering line. He began with the dream of becoming a photographer but found it “too wrapped up in the mechanical” for his liking. Next came puppetry. Behind a door in his studio, one elfin marionette still hangs from a box fan, its back to the visitor, and a framed poster for a puppet show he did once upon a time in Nantucket is propped behind a hodgepodge of furniture. In the past year, Wunderlee has done just one puppet show, though they used to be a staple of his artistic life.
As for his current work, “I can’t imagine doing this—I wouldn’t [have done] it—15 years ago,” he says, leaning back in his chair and gesturing around. Ultimately, he thinks, a life in the arts is a great experiment, one that needn’t be drawn with a straight edge.

Wunderlee Abstract Art
West River Arts – 909 Whalley Ave, New Haven (map)
Open by appointment.

Written by Kathy Leonard Czepiel. Photo 1 by Kathy Leonard Czepiel. Photo 2 by Dan Mims.