Tom Cullberg

Tom Cullberg from BRUNDYN + GONSALVES

By: BRUNDYN + GONSALVES  03-08-2012
Keywords: Art Gallery, oil paintings, Art Exhibition

It is with great pleasure that Brundyn + Gonsalves presents Periphery, Tom Cullberg’s 10th solo exhibition of paintings. Periphery finds Cullberg navigating the borderland between the tangible and intangible and is the first solo exhibition in which his abstracts will be experienced alongside his signature cover portraits. Despite the seemingly separate elements, it is undoubtedly a homogenous body of work; the combination of abstract paint-scapes and representational cover portraits never feels disparate. The two styles work together to flesh out Cullberg’s painterly objectives. Throughout the exhibition, Cullberg’s unifying thread is the creation of a space comprised of free-association, both subjective and personal. This applies both to the artist himself during the creation process and to the viewer who is observing the completed paintings. Cullberg intuitively peruses the annals of record and book collections, selecting and arranging according to an initial idea or set of parameters. Although the compositions are carefully considered, Cullberg’s underlying hypothesis are not explicitly stated; rather they are only hinted at in the titles. Subsequently, the logic behind Cullberg’s diverse arrangements of covers from pop, jazz and classical records, art theory texts, novels, children’s books and exhibition catalogues, can sometimes appear opaque. Resembling a garage sale, the works play directly into the idiosyncrasies inherent in record and book collections, a space that is equally comprised of both private and public connotations. It is unlikely that the viewer will be able to recognise every cover (especially considering Cullberg’s tendency to sporadically inject a fabricated red herring), but this is not essential for an appreciation of the work. It is the viewer’s tendency to formulate associations and construct narratives based on what is familiar or intriguing, that is key. The abstracts take this relational element to a more visceral realm. In a similar vein to Kandinsky’s Composition works (sans grandiose modernist pretensions), the paintings exhibit a strong musical sensibility as Cullberg evokes similar feelings of recognition and association through minimal, non-representational use of colour and paint marks. As a foil to the associative nature of the cover portraits, the abstracts mark a space of reflection. Exhibited alongside one another, the viewer is perpetually tugged between objective recognition and cognitive free-association; a space that can be defined as periphery. Born in 1972 in Stockholm, Sweden, Tom Cullberg currently lives and works in Cape Town. He graduated from Michaelis School of Fine Art, Cape Town in 1997. Cullberg has exhibited both locally and internationally including presentations at Joburg Art Fair, Johannesburg (2011); Michael Stevenson, Cape Town (2009); Magrorocca Galleria d’arte, Milan (2007) and Galleri Svenska Bilder, Stockholm (2003). His work is held public and corporate collections including: Hollard, Karolinska Sjukhuset (Stockholm), Sasol, Spier and Swedish Parliament.

Keywords: Art Exhibition, Art Gallery, oil paintings, Tom Cullberg

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