Brian Calvin

Brian Calvin is an influential contemporary American painter. In the 1990s, Brian Calvin began developing a figurative, non-narrative, pictorial style. Landscapes and portraits steeped in his Californian roots dominated this work. Close-up treatment of subjects, highly composed structures, as well as luminous colors laid flat endow these large-scale paintings with a strange temporality.

In observing his technique of pictorial economy, one gradually comes to see a type of abstraction in his representation of certain details. They reveal, even greater still, the true finality of his work, reaffirming the primacy of a visual reflection on painting itself and its possibilities. “I prefer to experience abstraction through the creation and tending of images. Painting provides the medium.” “Although the figures I paint are entirely invented,” he has said, “I pay close attention to how people construct their own identity and that certainly comes to bear on the paintings as they progress.”

Born in Visalia, CA in 1969, he went on to study at the University of California in Berkeley before earning his MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1994. He has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Anton Kern Gallery in New York, Almine Rech Gallery in Paris, and Corvi-Mora in London, among others. His work can be found in numerous public collections, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Portland Art Museum, and the Aïshti Foundation. Calvin lives and works in Ojai, CA.