Quintessential Renaissance Man

Written by on May 29, 2014 in Art - No comments

Gary Bodner is interested in everything from architecture to art and for the past thirty years, he has practiced medicine in Atlanta, specializing in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Reaching the pinnacle of achievement in all of his fields of interest is an ongoing, lifetime project. He is the quintessential Renaissance man.

Bodner was a sophomore studying architecture at Miami University of Ohio when his father suggested that a career in medicine would allow more financial security. He heeded his father’s advice and attended Chicago Medical School, but earned his medical degree from Emory University School of Medicine.

For the last 30 years, Bodner has been the first face seen by hundreds of newborn babies. He also has earned the respect and trust of the women for whom he cares.

Throughout his life, Bodner was attracted to art. He tried his hand at making pottery, as well as painting with watercolors and drawing with pen and ink, without much success.

But several years ago, he studied artistic techniques under Phil Carpenter in classes at the Atlanta College of Art and Chastain Arts Center. “Phil is a great teacher, and oil painting just works for me,” Bodner says. “It is very forgiving, and the more you fix your mistakes, the richer your painting gets.”

Bodner participated in workshops with nationally acclaimed artist Robert Johnson at the Sara Britt Arts Center in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and studied under Sandy Grow in Atlanta. But he credits his wife, Melanie, and Anne Irwin, owner of Atlanta gallery Anne Irwin Fine Arts (which represents Bodner’s artwork), with positively affecting his artwork.

“My wife has a great eye and can ‘fix’ a painting pretty quickly,” he says. “Anne Irwin has directed me to be a more expressionistic painter, almost an abstract painter. She has encouraged me to try different styles and take risks in the creative process.”

Anne Irwin recalls the first time she spoke with Gary, “He called me, indentified himself and asked if I would represent his work. He said he chose me because my name sounded familiar.” It should”, I replied, “You delivered my son.”

Due to his enormous energy and passion for his art, Bodner finds time to paint early in the morning, and late in the evening and on weekends. He describes his work as strong and colorful with an expressionistic style. “The power of juxtaposing or placing one color on top of another to create an image is what drives my paintings,” he says. “It is a great way to relieve stress. I can paint for three hours straight, and it feels like only 30 minutes have passed. Painting for me is hard work, but the last hour of a painting when I feel it all comes together is so gratifying.”

Primarily Bodner considers himself a colorist and is constantly looking for the interplay of colors on his canvases. He says he has been inspired by works of Cezzanne, Van Gogh and Philip Johnson, architect. He also admires artist Henri Matisse because of his color palette and his interior landscapes. And it seems to be all about color for Bodner as well.

“I love painting and color, and one simple stroke of yellow next to a purple vase can change the entire painting because they are complimentary colors,” he says.

Having practiced medicine for 30 years and art for over eleven, a common assumption might be that Bodner would retire from medicine soon and take up painting full-time. But he says he has found the perfect mix with art and medicine.

“I feel I have the best of two worlds, and I feel that medicine and my art, like my colors, complement each other,” he says.

Several of Dr. Bodner’s paintings are featured at the Anne Irwin Fine Art gallery in their “Best in Show 2013” exhibit.

By Thomas Hibbard
Creative Director

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