Home Magazine Beyond the Paint: A Dialogue with James Cobb about his exhibition Landscape and Still-Life

Beyond the Paint: A Dialogue with James Cobb about his exhibition Landscape and Still-Life

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Kooness: Tell us about your collection and exhibition. 

James Cobb: My exhibition Landscape and Still-Life has been on queue for quite a long time, and after a few attempts, we managed to come up with it. It was definitely a surprise to me how these artworks were so appreciated, despite their simplicity.  The exhibition is made up of 28 pieces of figurative, portrait and landscape artworks. When I do my artworks, I usually am inspired by objects in their clearness, picked up from sales or stores. I usually work inside, and avoid plein-air painting, however I love looking at flowers from a distance.

K: Is there anything in particular that inspires you? Refer to one or more artwork?

JC: It is granted to say I love nature, however I would like to add how inspired I am by the themes I have seen in Taos, New Mexico. My wife and I had a house there - and going there made my artworks blossom. Particularly, I also love water. I have noticed how this element makes people calm and happy. I haven’t done too many water scenes, until the point where I joined this gallery.

K: How did your art evolve through the years? Have you always worked on nature and still-life?

JC: I used to have a model every single week, therefore I was doing more figure work. With time, I got tired of portraiture as most people don’t really buy portraits. I don’t think people want portraits from people they don’t know. I can say I cut my teeth with still life. When I teach, I focus on still life because it's easier for someone to learn this way, and since it takes time to learn.


James Cobb. Shadows Falling in Snow. Courtesy of 1515 Lincoln Gallery. 

K: If you had to attribute a personality to your artworks, which one would you choose?

JC: I like to stay true to everyday objects, people, and things that are in my world. I paint because I love it. I would say the personality would be faithful.

K: How does your background and upbringing influence your work? 

JC: I enjoyed drawing since I was young. I remember when I was a kid and it rained outside, I enjoyed staying inside to draw. My artistic vein went away while I grew up, but then I met my wife, from whom I got great inspiration, I definitely would hand it to her. We have been married for 50 years now. We started going to many museums together and she influenced me to enjoy art. Also, I loved that it could be something that my son and I could do together. 

I would also add I really loved the work from the artist Poole while I was growing up. I ended up sharing a studio with him - and watching him, or just being around him - gave me lots of inspiration. I gradually moved into being a full time artist at the age of 55 years old, so 25 years ago. 

K: What have your watchers said about your works? What would you want to transmit? 

JC: I try to stay away from that question…however I aspire to allow the viewer to write their own story. I don't paint to tell any story. I paint to bring beauty to the object or subject matter before me. Also, I make no attempt to communicate a particular emotional response with oils and brushes. I want the viewer to see my work and feel what comes naturally. 

James Cobb. Shadows Falling in Snow. Courtesy of 1515 Lincoln Gallery. 

K: Please describe the artwork Peonies and Chinese Figures

JC: This is a smaller piece where I put a lamp, without its shade, shaped as a Chinese figure. I painted this artwork 3 months ago, when the Peonies were blooming and beautiful. The Chinese on the left, as I mentioned, is the bottom of the lamp. I was not trying to tell a story through it, I just wanted it to look good. I finished it alla prima, in a matter of hours.

Cover image: James Cobb. Sopyn’s Fruit Stand. Courtesy of 1515 Lincoln Gallery.

Written by Kooness

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