Home Art Magazine The calm in the middle of a storm with Wayne Ensrud’s frozen movements

Based on the idea that the sole purpose of art is to communicate feelings by touching the human center of emotion, Wayne Ensrud created throughout his over six decade-long career paintings that have an emotional impact that can be directly felt by the observer.

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Wayne Ensrud is a painter acclaimed for his naturalistic landscapes and waterscapes. He was born in Minnesota where local artists in his hometown inspired and encouraged him to pursue the study of art. He enrolled at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design where one of his teachers was Oskar Kokoschka. This encounter with the Austrian painter was life-changing for Ensrud. They both shared the idea of complete integrity to their art and the unwillingness to allow modern artistic fashions of the time to alter their beliefs. 

Even though after graduation Ensrud achieved groundbreaking achievements in the fields of media and design - being the youngest Art Director of Motion Pictures and Television for the University of California, and being Art Director of programs for ABC, CBS and NBC, among many - these left him dissatisfied. Therefore, feeling compelled to seek out guidance from Kokoschka by traveling to his home in Switzerland. This then developed into a guru-discipline relationship that spanned for more than 25 years. 

Kokoschka’s influence on Ensrud is evident in his paintings. Based on the idea that the sole purpose of art is to communicate feelings by touching the human center of emotion, Wayne Ensrud created throughout his over six decade-long career paintings that have an emotional impact that can be directly felt by the observer. He has done this throughout his artistic road, regardless of the subjects he has indulged in: landscapes, seascapes, still life, portraiture, figures, animals and religious and mythical imagery. 

 

Figure 1. Wayne Ensrud, New Ties, 1989. Courtesy of Leviton Fine Art.

In time, Ensrud realized that his faithfulness to Kokoschka in subject matter and aesthetic approach did not find a receptive contemporary audience. So realizing that he had to appeal to a larger public, he embarked into finding his own fresh and new way. 

Driven by the strong belief that many creative people were reduced by producing commodities, he developed his own approach. In his paintings, everything is in constant movement and flux. He constructs and orchestrates color and form to create a harmonious and unified balance. He refers to his paintings as ‘frozen movement’ that radiates a feeling of calm at the center of a storm.

Inventive in his use of form, Ensrud is sensitive to texture and surface, brash yet delicate in his use of color and adventurous in his exploration of space. Ensrud’s paintings are not a pastiche or collage of past discoveries and yet there is an aspect of timelessness in his paintings that echo qualities of the Old Masters. More importantly, they reveal a new synthesis. 

 

Figure 2. Wayne Ensrud, Manhattan Skyline, 2021. Courtesy of Leviton Fine Art.

 Leviton Fine Art focuses primarily on artwork that was created by recognized 20th Century Masters, and offers Wayne Ensrud’s works ranging from as early as 1980 to as recent as 2021.

 

Cover image: Wayne Ensrud, Chateau de Louviere, 1980. Courtesy of Leviton Fine Art

Written by: Zara Colombo

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