Posted April 20, 2020
Image provided by artist; photographed by Sally Peterson
Adam Wolpert, Landwell Oak, 2019, oil on linen on board, courtesy of the artist, on view in Landscape: Awe to Activism
This week, we're catching up with Landscape: Awe to Activism artist Adam Wolpert. Adam Wolpert’s work employs a range of techniques and motifs to reflect a lifelong engagement with nature. His varied imagery explores the themes of cycles, relationships and balance, and investigates the subtle distinction between the representational and the abstract. His earlier naturalistic outdoor work speaks of his relationship with the land, in particular his home in West Sonoma County at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center (OAEC).
A passionate artist from an early age, Wolpert explored the media of performance, ceramics, sculpture, and collage before turning seriously to
painting while earning his BFA from the University of California Santa Barbara. After a rigorous 2-year training in classical realism at Studio CecilGraves in Florence, Italy, where he immersed himself in the work of the great European masters, Wolpert completed an MFA at UC San Diego. He has had major gallery representation since 1988, including many solo exhibitions and group shows and 18 years with the Jan Baum Gallery in Los Angeles. Wolpert co-founded the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center in 1994 and has taught and lectured extensively throughout California. (adamwolpert.com)
Hi Adam, how are you spending your time during the shelter-in-place?
I am helping to keep things together with my family and community and spending time with my 13-year-old daughter. I am also very fortunate to have access to my studio during this time, as well as to extensive hiking trails near by. I am so grateful for this remarkable privilege. So I am spending much of my days painting a 4' x6' painting of a beautiful old Oak tree in front of our kitchen and walking in the woods. I am also spending time trying to grasp and understand the scale and meaning of what is happening to humanity right now and I find that effort can be overwhelming.
If you could describe your work in 3 words, what would they be?
Inspired by nature
Who or what inspires you?
In addition to nature, the creative process inspires me. I am always surprised and humbled by the creative journey. Even after more than 30 years of painting, it still is a mystery to me. I love the sensual beauty of the paint, the seemingly infinite number of solutions to pictorial problems and most of all, the way the activity leads me back to a study of myself and the way I construct visual reality. As soon as I finish a painting, I want to go further and deeper with the next one.
When do you feel most creative?
My favorite time to paint in the studio is from 5am and noon, when I paint outside I prefer the light in the late afternoon/early evening. There is something very different about painting at different times of day and, of course different paintings have different requirements. Another way to think about this question is in terms of inner states that foster creativity. I find I am most creative when I am searching but not finding, when I am in-between things and at least a little unsatisfied. For me, creative discovery often comes out of chaos and discontent. In these states, sometimes the work of art comes through me as if of its own accord. In my opinion, at its best, creativity is not about control.
Since you're exhibiting in "Landscape," where's your favorite landscape or outdoor space?
I love the pond at the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, where I live and have spent most of my life painting! (www.oaec.org)