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Craig Cully "Ardent Proponents of Iridescence"

September 6 - October 19, 2013
First Friday Sepember 6th & October 4th 6-9 pm

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Projects Gallery Philadelphia is pleased to present Ardent Proponents of Iridescence, the first solo exhibition by Craig Cully in Philadelphia.  This native Philadelphian is a graduate of the Tyler School of Art who currently lives in Arizona.  He is a professor of painting at the New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.

Cully came to Projects Gallery through a series of 2.5” x 2.5” Kiss paintings made during an extended separation from his wife, each painting executed in a day and each subject being devoured at day’s end.  This series has become a staple at numerous art fairs with Projects Gallery on an international stage, frequently purchased by art critics, gallerists and even other artists.  The extraordinary balances of painting skill, pop imagery and immense charm these works possess strikes all that have seen them.  The success of these in miniature scale, which is actually life size, has led to a series of larger scaled Kisses, allowing for intense exploration of the more abstract elements presented by a highly reflective surface in vivid color situation.  These abstracted moments immediately bring to mind the brilliant painting of Frans Hals, the Dutch master of lace and fabric, as well as the spectacular satin surfaces of the great American painter John Singer Sargent.  Yes, he is that good; and his transformation of the subject from the decadent seductive sweet with the equally seductive name to a poetic painting defies logic.

The ancients used art as a symbolic torch to illuminate mysteries in life.  At times the Greeks used life to show mysteries we were not even aware of, as when Aristotle observed that a simple stick had many properties that were not visible at first glance, such as its ability to become a weapon or create heat when burned.  He went even further when he noted that if he put a stick into a pond its reflection appeared to make it bend, so much so that it could deceive an onlooker.  He used this to demonstrate that there were more levels to reality than we ordinarily thought.  With Ardent Proponents of Iridescence, Cully does just that; he opens our eyes to a world of shifting forms and dancing colors, a world freed from the mundane reality of a simple forms to a world of feelings and sensations freed from gravity and function.  In other words, a world also proposed by Aristotle, the world of shapes and forms - abstraction.

Cully has a BFA from Temple’s Tyler School of Art and a MFA from The University of Arizona.  His works are in numerous private and public collections, including the Boise Museum of Art, the Museum of Art at Texas Tech University, the University of Arizona Museum of Art and the Tucson Museum of Art.  The artist created the album cover artwork for the rock band “Divine Fits”, which was recently featured on the Jimmy Fallon Show, the David Letterman Show and the Jimmy Kimmel Show.