ZIA Gallery, 548 Chestnut St., Winnetka, IL 60093 June 8 - July 20, 2013
Ready for the ZIA show. In addition to the exhibit, they also produced a 60 page book featuring railroad bridges that I have painted over the years. Check it out at the ZIA facebook page.
Now that the studio is cleaned out, I'll do a few more for the James Gallery in Pittsburgh. Looks like I'll also be headed back to Berlin for Berliner Liste at the end of September. I plan to do some smaller works on paper to supplement work already there.
In October, I'm planning a show at the Art Center in Washington, Missouri. I may do a painting of the Missouri River bridge there. Tentative date for the opening is October 26, and the show will run through Thanksgiving.
Finally getting caught up! 2011 was very busy preparing the works for Berlin. Finished 7 large paintings, 1 acrylic on paper and 2 pencil drawings. Shipped the stretchers broken down in advance. Rolled the paintings, put them in a 6" tube and carried them on the plane. Reassembed everything in Berlin. It all worked very well. Logistics such as these have always been a big barrier for me in even considering showing abroad.
Show went well. The paintings will stay at the ART Exhibition Link Gallery in Berlin. Let's hope something happens!
Had a call from the James Gallery in Pittsburg during the opening reception in Berlin. They needed more paintings! So I hustled back and got two done for them by the beginning of November.
Then it was time to finish my new addition. I type this in my new office, which was added to the second floor of the house this summer. Very lovely space, with great storage and good room for my drawing table. Plus it frees up a second bedroom for guests. Last of the big house improvements - except I just got word today that I can buy the lot next door to mine which will triple the size of my garden! Technically not a house improvement, but it will keep me off the streets for a bit!
Had a surprise email from Fermilab to do a show there in spring/summer. Delighted to do it! Next up will be preparing for a solo show at ZIA in early 2013.
I had my second solo show at the George Billis Gallery in New York this past March. The biggest (and most expensive) painting I've done was the one that sold!
I hustled back to Chicago to finish a couple of more paintings for Art Chicago at the beginning of May. Billis did the show for the first time, and I was fortunate to have a piece sell there as well. I was also in the summer shows at both the Los Angeles and New York Galleries, and got a nice mention in a review of the New York show.
Off to Berlin in June to get material for a show in the fall of 2011. Didn't know what I'd find, but I got some very nice material and have started to create them.
The Washington County Museum of Fine Art show opened at the beginning of October in Hagerstown, Maryland. Very beautiful show, and I am quite pleased to be showing with Rick Dula and Steve Magsig. We were all at the opening, and it was great to meet them.
Stopped in Pittsburgh on the way home to visit the James Gallery there. He had a big sale of three paintings to a corporate client this spring and has only one of mine left. We reviewed material in preparation for a new body of Pittsburgh work, to follow the German project.
And as I was headed out the door to Maryland, I was contacted by ZIA Gallery in Winnetka, Illinois. ZIA wanted to rep me in the Chicago area. I've agreed, and I have a solo show opening October 29 through December 11. They've taken everything I had in the studio. It's empty, and it's making me crazy.
I've been fixated on getting good live/work studio space for some time. Had been working on a project to build a new community of artists' housing, but that went nowhere. Found an exciting 5,000 sf space in February, 2008 and put a bid on it, but that deal fell through too. I kept looking, and in July, 2008 closed on a 1936 former tavern in the stockyards district. Bar room in the front will be the studio, and the attached bungalow in the back will be the living space. Nice side yard for a garden. After four months of work, the studio is functioning and I've moved in. Still plenty of work to do, but the studio is amazing. Can't wait to get to work!
The George Billis Gallery has arranged for a three person show (with Stephen Magsig and Rick Dula) at the Washington County Museum of Fine Art in Hagerstown, Md, Oct.-Dec. 2010. You can see samples of Magsig's and Dula's work on the George Billis website.
Bridge engineers from all over the world got to see my new Pittsburgh bridge paintings at The International Bridge Convention held in Pittsburgh June 2-4, 2008. One of the images was produced as a limited edition reproduction and given as "thank you" gifts to the six keynote speakers as well as 75 others who contributed to the success of the conference. By arrangement with the George Billis Gallery, five of the Pittsburgh paintings moved to the James Gallery in Pittsburgh.
My "Kinzie" lithograph is the featured work on the advertising for the Art Against Aids preview exhibition.
Did an interview with Dutch Rall at the end of August for the emmy award winning PBS program "In Context", to be aired in Austin, Texas. He's going to also try to pitch it to national PBS, so we'll see what happens. The Austin show ran in October. You can see the interview at: http://www.incontext.tv
Back to Chicago after 20 days on the road. Good opening in New York at the Billis Gallery. Had both a review in the Sun (see below), and a big image in the arts section of the Sun on June 21. One of my paintings was featured in the advertising for the Affordable Art Fair, held June 14-17. The George Billis Gallery featured some of my work in their booth. I was able to make that opening on June 13th.
The Ragdale Foundation alumni gathering at the Billis Gallery on the 19th was a big hit. Approximately 75 attended. There were recent alumni, but some had not been to Lake Forest in 10 or 15 years. And they brought their friends to help spread the word.
Got lots of field work done in NYC. Took the "scenic route" back to Chicago that included a visit to bridges in Philadelphia and a great ride up the Monongahela River through Pittsburgh and up the Ohio. Lots of material! It may be worth an Ohio River trip from Paducah up to Pittsburgh and beyond at some point. And then, of course, there's still Cleveland.....
My work for the show at the George Billis Gallery is featured in the June, 2007, edition of American Art Collector, pp. 188-193.
Kinzie litho got a nice front page spot in the Chicago Reader in the April 27, 2007 edition featuring Art Chicago. The litho was being shown by Anchor Graphics at the Bridge Art Fair.
Spent the first two weeks of January, 2007, at Ragdale working on my paintings for the New York show. Got seven big ones blocked in while staying in Sylvia's glorious studio. First time I was able to sleep with my work in a huge studio with 6 big skylights. Worked 12-18 hours a day. Great to be able to get up and start working at 6 am in my pajamas!
American Collector book out. Third time to be in it. Interesting twist, my cousin Mary Williams also has a piece in it - and made it to the cover!
In October, 2006, I received a purchase award for my Kinzie lithograph at the Illinois Institute of Art's Acquisition Exhibition.
In February, 2007, the Kinzie litho also received a Merit Award from the National Art Premiere show at the Elmhurst Art Museum.
After three years as an associate artist, the George Billis Gallery in New York City will be representing me. I am preparing 11 new paintings of New York City bridges for a solo show at the Gallery in June, 2007.
After an 11 year run, the Fine Arts Building Gallery closed at the end of October, 2006. I’ve been a member for six of those years. My studio will remain in the Fine Arts Building for the foreseeable future.
Gallery Katz, the Boston venue that featured my work in May and June decided to shift from a physical gallery format to a virtual one on the web. It will relaunch in its new form in September. Some of my prints and paintings will be featured.
The New York Sun, June 7, 2007
Abstract Jewels of Modernism, by Maureen Mullarkey
Roland Kulla defers to the creativity of classical mechanics by painting testaments to civil engineering. "Bridging New York," his first solo exhibition at George Billis Gallery, opens this Saturday. It is an impressive debut.
The artist has been painting the structure of bridges in several cities for the past 10 years. Mr. Kulla is based in Chicago, the world's capital of movable bridges and the perfect city to begin a love affair with bridge forms. For this exhibition, he studied and photographed more than 40 New York bridges, from the iconic Brooklyn and George Washington ones to neighborhood viaducts.
Bridges have long had their uses in art to separate spaces and form frames. Giorgione used a trestle bridge to divide the near background from the far background of "The Tempest" (1503). Canaletto evoked local charm with the bridges of Venezia; Whistler bathed the Battersea bridge in London fog. Mr. Kulla, however, foregoes scenic possibilities, refusing to coax romance from urban landscape.
He is interested solely in the structural dynamism of bridge forms and the functional splendor inherent in their components: trusses, bolts, girders, railings, arches, beams, struts, ties, and cables. His hard-edged paint handling is as austere and rigorous as his subject.
Mr. Kulla abstracts structural elements from their context and works on a scale that highlights the monumentality of the forms and, in his words, "the creativity necessary for their existence." Typical of his approach are "Congress Street" (2006) and "Hell's Gate" (2007), each with its steep spatial rush and severely cropped giant lattice of steel. Consistent with the artist's vantage point, the sight lines plunge upward into darkened recess where tensions and compressions converge. Small windows of the sky appear between girders in compositions that emphasize the ingenuity of weight-bearing constructions.
The 6-foot-high "Queensboro" (2007) admits the surface effects of time and weather. Here, verisimilitude asserts itself ahead of abstract purposes. But, in the main, Mr. Kulla subjugates appearances, including plays of light and shadow, to pictorial design. The striking graphic beauty of crisscrossed structures viewed through one another and against the sky recalls the visual patterns Caillebotte created with balcony grills.
The New York Sun, July 20, 2006
On View: the Hubris of Our Metropolis, by Maureen Mullarkey
Every age loves images of the buildings that express its aspirations. While the painted cityscape was not an independent format until the 17th century Dutch showcased the satisfactions of civic space, an aerial view of Rome adorned a fresco in the Baths of Trajan. Today, however, the documentary authority of the camera creates a crisis of confidence among practitioners of the genre.
Representational painters worry that their craft has lost its old objective functions to the camera. As Rackstraw Downes phrased it, "We have other ways to make records of our buildings." True, but the cityscape – like representational painting itself – is more than mere record. Painters seek what they need in urban landscape no less than in nature. More precisely, they find there what they know and what they long for. While the cityscape does record the urban setting, it finds its purpose in response to the scene.
"In the City," a group exhibition of cityscapes at George Billis Gallery, succeeds in ways it never intended. There is much good painting here; individual works are intelligent and satisfying. Yet the force of the show lies in the cumulative expression of an involuntary fear: that the culture of modernity is inimical to the creation of urban beauty.
Viewed as an ensemble, the exhibition is an unwitting confession that New York has evolved without the benefit of shared convictions about the relationship of architecture to human well-being. The hubris of the metropolis and its bleakness are depicted with equal vivacity. And the camera, both tool and tyrant, insinuates itselft throughout.
...Roland Kulla ignores the incoherence of the city in favor of close-ups of the ordered steel tracery of the Willis Avenue Bridge...
Boston Globe, June 8, 2006
It's hard to believe that the work of painter Roland Kulla, whose show will be the last at Gallery Katz, wouldn't appeal to a conservative local crowd. Kulla is one of Katz's formalists: He paints bridges. A Chicago artist, he came here to photograph Boston bridges, and the paintings all show off local sites.
The works are at once representational – he identifies the bridges by name – and distinctly abstract. Kulla catches portions of each bridge at odd, sometimes precarious-feeling angles. He gives the viewer an ant’s-eye view.
He calls the show "elemental Boston" because each painting is, in a sense, elementary. The colors are primary, the shapes all triangles, squares, and circles. The negative spaces the lines of each bridge carve out of the bright sky have as powerful a presence as the steel and iron that frame them. "Congress," depicting the Congress Street Bridge, has us looking into a juncture in the span's underside, and it's like gazing into a dragon's maw. Kulla's works are lean and smart, and they have wide appeal.