Artist: James Vanderberg
James Vanderberg was born on Long Island, New York in 1980 and has been pursuing a career in painting since an early age. As an undergraduate at Fordham University James won a Susan Lipani travel scholarship and studied in Orvieto, Italy for six weeks. He studied landscape painting and figure drawing with the faculty of Fordham University and the New York Studio School. James received his Master of Fine Arts degree from CUNY Hunter College in 2008. While there, James was awarded a Luetz/Riedel Fellowship to study for one semester at École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-arts in Paris, France. Here James immersed himself in the study of Monet’s Les Nympheas. It was these paintings that opened up the possibilities of using color and light through abstraction to create his current body of work. After graduating Hunter, James was honored with a Tony Smith Foundation Award. He presently lives and works in Brooklyn and teaches undergraduate art courses at Fordham University’s Rose Hill Campus in the Bronx, New York.
For me the act of painting is a play and a process, a push and pull of color and mark, paint and brush. The painter Maurice Denis once said that, “a painting – before it is a battle horse, a nude model, or some anecdote – is essentially a flat surface covered with colors assembled in a certain order.” It is in that assemblage and order that my content exists. I do not attempt to illustrate the world around me through narrative and rendering. Instead, my paintings exist as a space for color to interact, for composition and drawing and mark making to juxtapose.
In the end these works are about looking into an abstract space or an extreme or complex combination of color and having that experience which is absolutely visual. It is in that visual space that the mind can remove itself form the everyday, literal understanding of things and perhaps for a brief moment contemplate something else. Looking, seeing and searching can never be finite, but rather it exists as a continued dialogue of ideas and experiences. My work is an investigation into this non-physical phenomenon; open ended, inconclusive. What the viewer sees, what they experience is fascinating to me, and my ability to set up the arena for this interaction motivates my work. With every mark, every layer the viewer is invited to participate in the discovery.