Featured Artist: Calvin Grimm
About Calvin Grimm
Within the natural world resides an abstract presence that, when intensely experienced, can later emerge in the work of certain artists. As an Abstract Expressionist painter, Calvin Grimm, marks his coordinates on canvases informed by years of exploration into pristine environments of intimate immensity. He was a wilderness sea kayaking expedition leader on the Alaskan and Yucatan coasts, and a backpack and horse-pack leader in Wyoming for years, absorbing and contemplating what art historian and curator, Robert Rosenblum, reflects upon as "experiences of the spiritual, transcendental, mysterious".
Grimm is widely recognized for his two murals at the San Francisco Giants AT&T Park in which he melds natural elements of the surrounding environment with symbols of architecture and baseball. Conversely, his "Ancient" series studies the 30,000 BC cave art of France and the spirits found in Native American horse masks. The Rock/Cave Art awareness began as a teen and renewed in the South of France and America's ancient West.
THE ROCK ART SERIES
"I recall the National Geographic magazines of the 1950’s– images of deep carved limestone caverns painted of ochre, black and red drawings of animals as spirit guides and sacred objects– and I was smitten early on. Then, at sixteen, I apprenticed in a Greenwich Village studio fabricating castings of simulated rock walls. Upon those “walls”, I painted ancient marks, again, creating reproductions of 30,000 year old cave art."
This was a formative time for the artist. The importance of these images, the pleas to Mother Nature, struck a primal chord. The perfect line, the heightened awareness of anatomy, the innocent abstraction, all spoke of the Shaman’s necessity to identify and be humbled in the presence of nature and of questions regarding one’s place in the creation story. The search for our relationship to a higher power led to the manifestation of these, the earliest of cathedrals.
"In 1997, I was awarded a scholarship to study in the South of France, the subject being the most recently discovered Chauvet Cave. An extensive body of work ensued: the Rock Art series of drawings and paintings."
A Greenwich, Connecticut couple assembled a private collection of many of these rock renditions. After Greenwich, their collection hung in their Hampton’s home for several decades. Today, a significant portion of that series is available for re-acquisition by others who feel connected to these images of the earliest human grapplings with our awakening sense of awe and respect for Nature’s generosity.
"Grimm does not render the flower; he renders the force that drives it. The beauty of nature is not so much to be found in the individual stone or tree or stream, but in the dynamic and unceasing exchange of energy between them."
-Mikhail Horowitz. Woodstock Times
"His extensive wilderness experience provides him with voluptuous subject matter which he treats with a light, energetic touch.”
-Helen A. Harrison, New York Times
"His work comes from a biomorphic expressive abstraction which he carries into his own energetic and richly inventive mode."
-Sara Lynn Henry, Distinguished Professor of Art History, Emerita, Drew University