"My approach to painting is to create images which relate to the Black experience. My pictures do not attempt to make any social or moral comment. Painting to me is a way of expressing my feelings. As an artist the excitement of creating a picture never leaves me. I try to capture the essence of my subject; whether it be a person or an object. My work is basically a reflection of the past, present and future. I hope the people who view my work in the form of color and dimension will be inspired. In terms of technique, I am basically influenced by the impressionist painters."
Lester Gunter, son of a goldsmith, was born in Trinity Ville, Saint Thomas, Jamaica, West Indies. His studies include: The Jamaica School of Art from 1958 to 1963, Art Students League in New York from 1968 to 1970 and the National Academy of Fine Art from 1970-1972, where he won the James Augustus Suydam Bronze Medal Award for best Figure Painting. Gunter has studied under renowned artists Mayo Cousins, Robert Sawyers, Robert Brackman, Robert Phillipp, Hugh Gumpel and Julian Levi.
He has exhibited his work in several one man shows including the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York; Gallery + in the Valley, Jamaica, West Indies; The Jamaica Contemporary Association, Kingston; St. Andrew Parrish Library; and The Institute of Jamaica.
Essie Green Galleries’ (dba Park Plaza Galleries) premier opening in December 1979, was a Gunter one man show. Following that opening Gunter valued recognition. In June 1980, a group of black students at the Montclair-Kimberly Academy selected a Gunter to purchase (from their own pockets) to donate to their prestigious school, as an example of the black experience. Again in June 1980, the Jackie Robinson Foundation chose Gunter's art for exhibition and auction at their annual fundraiser at Mrs. Robinson's Connecticut estate. In November 1980, the Alabama State University, in Montgomery Alabama, mounted an exhibit of Gunter's work in a tribute to his art. September 1995, the Jamaican Consulate in midtown Manhattan mounted a successful retrospective exhibit spanning 35 years of his work. The opening was hosted by Consul General Kay Baxter-Collins and Ambassador to the UN Ms. Pat Durant and was attended by 150 guests. More recently, Gunter exhibited in group shows at the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Washington D.C. in 2007 and the Dennis and Phillip Ratner Museum, Bethesda Maryland, in 2008.
Institutional collectors of Gunter's work include Chase Manhattan Bank, The Paul R. Jones Collection of American Art at The University of Alabama, and the North Carolina Central University Museum of Art.
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