The 8th Floor, a private exhibition and event space in New York City, and the estate of William Segal present “In the Marketplace,” featuring the paintings and works on paper by American painter and philosopher, William Segal. A presentation of Ken Burns’ film of the same title, documenting the life and work of the artist, will also be on view through October 6, 2011.
William Segal (1904-2000) was a self-taught painter and a devoted practitioner of Zen Buddhism. This exhibition explores Segal’s perceptive modes of seeing: seeing the self, seeing the objects of life, and ultimately, how he illustrated the wisdom he gained in his lifelong study of Zen. The title of the exhibition refers to the final conclusion of spiritual development as laid out in the story of The Ten Ox Herding Pictures. The contented man entering the marketplace is a metaphor for the return back to the world with the wisdom gained through meditation.
The noted British theater director Peter Brook, a friend for many years, wrote of Segal’s painting: ”William Segal looks at the outside world and leads us into William Segal the man. His spaces and silences all take us to a secret meditative core.”
Segal was a successful magazine publisher for several decades, dividing his time between New York City and Paris. Upon frequent visits to Japan, he discovered the teachings of Zen Buddhism and studied with D.T. Suzuki. His life-long search for self-understanding inspired him to paint still lifes, landscapes, portraits and self-portraits, in which he found depth and peace.