Jene Highstein


Jene Highstein was born in Baltimore Maryland in 1942. He earned a BA in philosophy from the University of Maryland in 1963. He completed post-graduate work in philosophy at the University of Chicago and went on to study drawing at the New York Studio School before earning his Post Graduate Degree from the Royal Academy Schools, London in 1970. In the late 1960s he turned his attention to sculpture, in which he continues to work. Highstein has received a number of awards, including four National Endowment for the Arts grants, a Guggenheim Award and a St. Gauden's Memorial Prize. He currently lives and works in New York, where he has also taught at the New York School of Visual Arts as well as NYU.

Highstein describes his work as thinking about ''a sense of existence of a thing in the world which would bring along some of the mystery of our history, our human history... our common history. Often, Highstein begins with a drawing – dense black shapes which activate large white fields of paper – which are frequently displayed with the finished sculptures. Over the course of his career, Highstein's sculpture has experienced an evident shift from a great dependency on negative space to a focus on dimension and fullness. His sculptures focus on the essential nature of form, without distractions such as color. He has stated, ''the square is an ideal form...and I don't work with ideal forms...'' Thus in comparison to many of Highstein's minimalist contemporaries, his totemic work is uncharacteristically human and inviting, addressing the viewer's most basic emotions.

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