Owen Wexler was a seasoned artist here at New Elements Gallery. I can remember when I first met him when I was a green and very new art dealer, how kind and supportive he was. I was drawn to his self deprecating humor, his sweet personality, his New York candor, and his beautiful light filled paintings. Owen was always patient with me while I struggled to get my arms around my business. This trait is probably why he was a wonderful art teacher. Owen taught art using his degree from City College of New York and his Masters of Fine Arts from the Art Institute of Chicago where he was a full scholarship student. He became the Dean of Flushing High School, and with the help of his dearly loved and departed wife Myrna and his art sales he became a full time professional artist.
Owen was kind in his interactions, and patient to a fault. He was on so many boards here in town and out of town I can’t name them all here. He loved this community. He loved painting it as well as helping it run better. He was very committed to serving Wilmington and the state of North Carolina. Not only did he love this area as a community, he loved what he saw enough to immortalize it in his work.
Owen’s work is filled with light and collected widely. The late Charles Robertson, another wonderful artist here at New Elements, had several Wexlers in his collection, because of the use of light and dark hues, his use of color, and the light that emanated out of each one. Owen was a painter’s painter. You could find him fishing in his boat, painting in Airlie Garden, and on the Intracoastal waterway. He saw the world in his own unique and artful way.
He will be greatly missed in so many ways. Owen was 80 and passed away December 29th, 2022. The only way for an artist to go on living is for those of us left behind to talk about his art, and go on collecting. There will be a celebration of life on April 28th, his birthday, at the Arts Council of Wilmington. New Elements Gallery will have a part of the gallery devoted to Owen on that evening as well.
Miriam Ohrlein, 1/18/2023
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