Zinnes has had six solo exhibitions in New York City, including a 25-year retrospective at The Art Center at Queens College . She has also had one-person shows at Dartmouth and Swarthmore Colleges. Ms Zinnes has been reviewed (often with illustrations) in The New York Times, New York Newsday, New York Arts Magazine, Art New England, and The Queens Tribune, and interviewed on the NPR-affiliated radio station WJFF . She has received awards from the National Academy of Design, and fellowships from the Virginia Center for the Arts as well as from the Cummington Community for the Arts. Zinnes’s work is in many public and private collections: in New York City it is at the First Albany Corporation, Frederick Harris, Inc., Alliance Capital, Kaye Insurance, Inc.; in New Jersey it is at Schein Pharmaceuticals; and in Philadelphia it is in the collection of Wolf Block & Solis-Cohen.
Born in Norman, Oklahoma to an artistic family (her mother is a poet and art critic; her father was a physicist and trained concert pianist), Zinnes had a wide exposure to the arts as a child. She then spent her junior high years at the International School in Geneva, Switzerland, and traveled widely throughout Europe. Alice Zinnes received her BA from Swarthmore College, a Certificate of Merit from the New York Studio School, her MFA from Queens College, CUNY, and attended the Skowhegan School on a full merit scholarship.
Provoked to visual explosions by the great Indian epic, The Ramayana, and by Celtic mythologies, my oil paintings, large charcoal drawings and intimate watercolors contain the spirit of the storyteller in the guise of the abstract adventurer. Not illustrations or literal translations, they are instead transformations from myths to mysterious worlds where the boundaries between underworld and waking earth are traversable, terror coexists with joy, and loss must always yield to renewal. Mood, energy, drama, and emotional tensions are transformed into forms emerging from light and dark, suggestions of figures in space. The very sky descends to occupy the ground as fog, and then rises back to its rightful place, offering an opening and escape to the bright air above.
Before making these abstracted images, I spent 15 years working directly from observation. In these studies, the motif was a vehicle for discovering forms, movements and colors, which themselves were metaphors for the combined experience of perception, memory, mood and thought. These observational yet lyrical works depicted a watery, mysterious, musical, and dreamlike world. In many ways, they relate directly to my later abstractions. Landscape and poetry have always been in my bones and blood. When I responded to landscapes, the poetry seeped though, and now when I respond to stories, the landscape remains as my anchor. Now, rather than suggesting the light and space of an actual motif, my landscapes are cast deep in the rich colors of myth – the language and pictures we create to understand the world at its least understandable.