James L. Erviti graduated with honors from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1981 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting. His earlier paintings from 1978 to 2009 were, essentially, figurative explorations. Only a few of his early paintings remain and then only in the form of slides. Initially, as an art student at Greenfield Community College his paintings were in oils. However when he began at the San Francisco Art Institute he moved to acrylics because he did not have to buy gesso which saved money for paint. There were some lean years when due to raising a family did not allow for the expenses for painting but drawing has always been his outlet to provide him with discovery in his art. All paintings displayed here are acrylic on canvas (and he does use gesso now). James is retired and continues his work full time now at his studio in Warwick, Massachusetts.
In 2010 I engaged in a experiment to create 100 paintings all of which are to be 72 inches by 60 inches and all are to be in portrait orientation. These somewhat constrained parameters were meant to push me into areas I may not have investigated. My initial work in this experiment was principally concerned with space and color and lines. That part of the experiment led me to a certain degree of boredom and I started introducing some anthropomorphic shapes within the confines of geometric shapes. For me, it seemed as though the figurative work I had done in the past was trying to insert itself. However, I did not want the figurative to become literal.
Somewhere around the 84th painting in this series I began a new painting, looked at the blank canvas and felt I had taken this part of the experiment to a conclusion. It had been a ten year investigation and the experiment was working, I had to change. In 2021 I chose a new direction that most definitely incorporates the figure and I have been placing them in somewhat absurd places/situations as well as the figures themselves being distorted toward the absurd. I find a certain degree of humor in this new direction but there is also, to large extent, a very serious side in that the world in which we find ourselves appears to be moving rapidly toward the absurd. Moreover, the absurdity of our societies has got to the point where the irony of it has begun to lose its humor. Hopefully, I can insert humor in my work as well as maintain the absurd.
Painting is a conversation between the images, the paint and me. I am, as usual, unsure as to the final direction these newer paintings will take me. I feel my experiment has, so far, been successful and it seems that 100 paintings will not be enough.