If you don’t love something, you won’t be moved to do something about it, in relation to personal relationships and the world around you…I’m an artist, and part of my job is to reflect back on to the society my observations and concerns,” says Calvin Grimm, talking about his new solo exhibition Secrets of the Heart, Water and Space, that will be part of multiple openings, 4 p.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, July 19 at the Woodstock Artists Associaton and Museum, 28 Tinker Street, in town.
Grimm’s often large abstract paintings can tear him apart, depicting conflicts between some of mankind’s most heinous self made disasters, giant oil spills, and the pure visual beauty that they can create. “It is human nature for beauty to attract our attention. So much of creativity is formed around beauty, love and the loss of love. The poetic expression of love and loss are the core of most art forms. I adore and therefore I mourn nature.”
He has planned more than just a show of his paintings. As you move about the center gallery at WAAM, you will find the reality of photos of the tragedies interspersed with the canvases; a video installation he’s created with photographer/video artist Laura Revercomb, depicting earthwork sculptures they’ve created, mylar strips interacting in a kinetic fashion in streams. “Their original intention is to some degree simulate what oil spills might be in bodies of water to attract attention to that possibility. It’s a phenomonon that became clear to me during the Gulf oil spill…after making this painting, that started in 1989, during the Prince William Sound oil spill and that I completed in 2010 during the BP oil spill.”
That particular painting will be positioned so that the viewer will be supplied with headphones, playing a piece of music by composer George Tsontakis. “The painting for me is a tragedy, visceral, slimy hurt and angry reaction to the tragedy. These are confusing emotions. We have the threat of hydrofracking and oil spills as well. We’re all becoming aware of how much more oil is moving through the corridor of the Hudson by barge and by rail from the Dakotas and Canada.”
There will also be abstract work of Grimm’s that shows his exuberant side, his startling colors blazing trails through unspoken ideas. “I recognize that there’s little to no separation to what I’m painting and what I’m feeling. That’s the beauty of being an abstract painter. I don’t have a preconceived notion with the experience of creativity.”
Grimm, a most uncompromising sort, spent many formative years as a wildlife educator, a mountaineer, horseman and mariner. In his 20s, he designed and built his home in Woodstock, and credits these experiences with developing his outlook. “The whole of the show is weaving in and out of the emotional relationship with the environment that I have and relationships I have had. In a way I’m exposing some of my heart through paintings like Sea of Acceptance, and another painting My Heart Is On That Ship Out In The Ocean, from a McGarrigle Sisters song.
“My painting often parallel things that happen in my life and I don’t always realize it until I get to the end of the painting and the title comes into it.”
His paintings have accompanied the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company, and hang in diverse locations, including in AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants baseball team.
Also opening, 4 p.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, July 19 at WAAM, the July Group Show; Rob Wade Active Member Wall and a Small Works Show. Continuing in the Towbin Wing Rediscovering Wendell Jones and in the YES Gallery, Ackerman Award Winner: Meghan Heidenberg. The openings are free and open to the public. For more information, call 679-2940.