STAVANGER.- This September London-based artist Richie Culver, with the support of the Faro Symposium (Stavanger) and P-A-M (London), presents a major solo exhibition in the picturesque city of Stavanger, Norway. Culver has a strong personal and artistic relationship with the city, having exhibited there in 2011 and completing a residency with the Faro Symposium last year. Culver was working in Norway most recently this Spring, and was inspired by many aspects of the land, saying: Theres for sure a sadness hidden away, a kind of emptiness, I was really taken back with simply being in a country where there was a language barrier. Like being on an island. Its great to really live inside a different culture, the people, the land, the light, everything. Ive made many relationships there that are special to me.
Prominent motifs and characters that examine existential themes such as life and death take centre stage in this show, and Culver explains: It seems the devil is willing to travel the devil and the deep blue sea is a comment on the space in life that feels infinite, whether it refers to love, life or death. When a fisherman is out on his own, with only the sea for company, it is his life support and could also send him over the edge into the water and into the depths below. The devil is always in disguise, he has no real shape, hes always around us all the time, sometimes theres a price to pay. Culvers passionate and energetic work is often the result of very immediate and emotional responses to his life experiences. His work is first and foremost very emotional and explores recurring themes that are fundamental to our existence, such as life, death, humor, love, loss, addiction, sex and pain.
The photographic works featured in this show see a development in the medium that is very new to Culver. Exploring and developing this technique, experimenting with exposure and movement, Culver has created images for this exhibition that are almost animated. The mediums of drawing and photography in this sense have many similarities, be it capturing moments and compositions on camera, or as drawings on paper, all his images possess a sense of immediacy and intimacy that is captivating. The photographs in this series stem from a decidedly kinetic way of working, without a defined beginning or end, almost painting with light until he finds the composition and story that he has been searching for.
The title of the exhibition The Four Letter Word as with much of Culvers work that involves text, is open to interpretation. The viewer is invited to make their own interpretation and draw their own conclusions. Culver explains: There are many four letter words, some foul some beautiful. Ive tried to look at some of the many different meanings in the pieces in the show. Love has always played a strong role in many of my works, as well as the darker aspects of life found around us. A rich source of debate within todays society, many of the themes and words that we find in Culvers work are intertwined with strong associations and repercussions in the role they play. Altogether, the work represents a very human attachment to emotion, which is undoubtedly the quintessence of Richie Culvers story. Richie Culvers origins are firmly rooted in the Northern English port city of Hull. Leaving a caravan factory job in his teens, he would go on to live and work in New York before eventually settling in London. With no formal art training, Culver was unexpectedly thrust into the limelight in 2011 when a curator at the Tate Modern included his work in a group show. Now, after much time spent travelling and producing work directly from his East London studio, Culver presents what is his third solo show in as many years.