Tuesday, December 28, 2010

J.M. Culver - Drawing-Painting

J. M. Culver
J. M. Culver
http://twitter.com/jmculver   @jmculver


I am a figurative artist based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. My work explores relationships, allegories, and the complexities of the human condition. Through a combination of painting and drawing, I create large-scale subjective narratives in hopes of evoking an emotional response and creating a dialogue with the viewer. I regularly exhibit my work, curate exhibitions, and am very active in the arts community.

Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?
My current drawings/paintings are visual narratives that capture fragments and recreate moments of childhood memories and anxieties. They reveal intimate and sometimes awkward scenes that focus on growing up with a schizophrenic grandfather and the impact of this relationship.

These life size drawings/paintings are fueled by personal fears, confusions, anxieties, frustrations, and the vulnerabilities of childhood. They integrate universal themes of the human condition: a celebration of life at its darkest and brightest points.

Images of tumbling kittens, broken chairs, little girls, and distressed men strive to connect with each other while sharing an inner life at odds with reality. Built into the narrative are familiar characters, such as Pinocchio, that represent the duality of the real and artificial self and the innocence of childhood. These characters explore an internal world unrestricted by logic or structure that conveys an underlying sense of anxiety and uncertainty.

The tactility of charcoal and smoothness of acrylic/oil evokes and blurs forms to create solidity and space. Large white expanses suggest the transitive nature of memory juxtaposed against anxiously marked areas of visual and psychological interest. Aggressive marks, erasures, and veils of acrylic create realistic and abstract moments frozen in time.

I intend for these frozen moments of childhood memories to intimately and physically engage the viewer while sharing an honest reaction and dignified experience that everyone can relate to. These narratives are personal observations of the human condition that present an immediate and intimate, tangible expression of memory.

How is this different from past projects?
I’ve actually been working on this series for a few years now. I started out using charcoal and acrylic on paper and am now exploring the same subject with different layers of charcoal, acrylic, oil, and clear medium on paper and cradled masonite panels. The narrative continues to evolve and I will continue with this series until I feel it is completely exhausted. I also have an interest in abstract painting and was working on a series of “Visceral Landscapes” and “Decompositions” a while back. They were abstractions of the figure with a focus on anatomy as a landscape. My representational work has abstract elements with loose painterly marks and erasures.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
“There are 24 hours in a day. Make it work.”

Tell me about your working space and your creative process?
My studio is located in the California Building in North East Minneapolis. I like to divide my working space around the room for different projects. So there's always room if something isn't working out well that day or if I come up with new ideas.

I have different visual journals for each series that I use to write about ideas, memories, and researching contemporary art that I admire and that gives me inspiration. My visual journals are full of almost illegible writing, collage elements, and basic sketches.

I then work from a combination of sources – observation, photographs, intuition, and imagination. It ends up working like a collage when it comes together. I don’t appropriate directly from any specific source. I want to maintain a sense of immediacy and honest reaction to the subject matter.

If you were to receive a $2,000 art grant to do anything you want, what would you do?
I would like to have the opportunity to create new work for a large solo exhibition that explores multi-media with my current themes. I’d like to include large-scale drawings, paintings, video with sound, and constructed environment installations.

Which Minnesota artists do you enjoy?
Caitlin Karolczakhttp://studiosilenti.com
Stacey Davidsonhttp://staceydavidson.info
Amelia Biewald - http://ameliabiewald.com

If I were to follow you around on an “art day” in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?
I frequently visit the MIA and am always drawn to the Soutine painting “Carcass of Beef” and Larry Rivers’ work. I spend a few hours with my sketchbook sitting on the museum floor writing, sketching, and developing ideas. I attend various art openings in the Twin Cities and also enjoy visiting The Bell Museum to view the dioramas.

Where do you go online for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise?
http://mnartists.org - local news/opportunities
http://artdeadlineslist.com/ - other opportunities/call for art
http://artnews.com and http://artforum.com - art world news
http://www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk/ - other artist’s work
http://facebook.com - networking, local art exhibits, openings, other artists.

Do you have any exhibits or any interesting things going on in your life or coming up in the near future?

I have framed prints and a few original paintings available for purchase at Spyhouse on Nicollet in Minneapolis until mid January. I also have a solo exhibition in March at Gallery 122. I’m working on organizing some group exhibitions as well. I plan to start grad school this coming Fall to pursue my MFA in Painting.

2012 Update:
2012 Art -A-Whirl Open Studio and Art Sale. Friday, May 18th - Sunday, May 20th.
Studio #505, California Building, 2205 California St NE, Minneapolis, MN. I will have large scale drawings, medium scale abstract paintings and small mixed media works on view.

Cult Sisters III: Love/Hate. Cult Status Gallery. Opening Reception, Saturday, May 26th 7pm to midnight. Exhibition runs May 26th - June 18th 2012.

Other upcoming exhibitions, curatorial work, and projects such as workshops will be listed on my website: http://jmculver.com

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