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Paul Waters - Artists - Eric Firestone Gallery

Waters was born in 1936 in Philadelphia, PA. As a child, he attended Saturday classes at Philadelphia’s Fleisher Memorial Art School. There, as Waters says, “They let me use my fingers instead of brushes”.  Waters graduated from Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont and received his Master’s degree from the Bank Street College of Education in Manhattan.  He traveled to Europe, Africa, Asia, the South Pacific and South America before making his home and studio on the Bowery in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the 1960s and becoming involved in the art community there. He studied closely with Romare Bearden and Hungarian Abstract Expressionist Joseph Fulop.

Waters was fascinated by his parents’ collection of original African art and artifacts from tribes including the Bariba, Ndebele and the Toma people. He has taken inspiration from them and also rock and cave paintings in his work. Between 1965 and 1972, Paul Waters made large-scale paintings in which painted and cut canvas shapes are collaged onto primed canvases.

Waters was the subject of a solo exhibition in 1968 at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. He was included in several historic shows of African-American artists in the 1970s, including "Afro American Artists: New York and Boston," Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1970); and Contemporary Black Art: A Selected Sampling, Florida International University, Miami (1977).

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