A PROLIFIC PAINTER WHOSE CANVASES FILL WALLS WITH DYNAMIC COLOR AND ENERGY LIVES FOR THE EXCITEMENT AND MYSTERY OF THE CREATIVE PROCESS
BY LAURA D.C. KOLNOSKI
Like a composer arranging musical notes, oil painter Glenn Garver first mastered the process of creating his evocative works. Now he knows when he’s achieved “the right combination of notes.” While his inspiration is the passion to paint, Garver’s objectives and cumulative personal reflections fuel the fervor with which he strives to achieve his desired result, a canvas evoking “truth with an energy.”
Born near his parent’s native Philadelphia, Garver began drawing as a youth and developed a love for it he carried throughout his early life in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Garver soon knew he wanted to attend art school.
“I grew up in a family where music and arts were valued and encouraged,” he said. “My mother played piano, my dad sang and did photography, and my older brother is an architect.” Garver settled in Jersey City in 1981, graduating from New York City’s School of Visual Arts three years later. Initially, his paintings were more representational, featuring landscapes inspired by road trips he took across the United States in the 1980s.
A School of Visual Arts teacher taught Garver the traditional technique of sizing and preserving canvas with rabbit skin glue. “The actual color of the canvas is maintained, you can see the texture, and it has a beautiful surface when it dries,” he explained. “I don’t fill the canvas to the edge, so the raw canvas also shows.”
In his 30s, the artist said, “abstract elements began creeping in. I moved away from representational art, went totally abstract, and became more minimal in terms of color and simplicity. Over time, more color and movement came in and my style became more introspective.” The constant, Garver said, is that he never begins with a set idea. “I put paint on a canvas and see where that takes me.”
So far, it has taken him to Europe, when he was invited to participate in art prestigious shows by a lifelong friend, a painter and curator who produced the shows with an international partner. In Rotterdam, Netherlands; Gent, Belgium; and at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey, enthusiastic audiences viewed and purchased the American’s works.
Stateside, Garver created a community piece at the Memphis Social show in Tennessee, and was part of the contemporary installation “East Fresco” at the Hatchery in Badger, California. In addition to Boston, Hoboken, and Philadelphia, Garver has exhibited at the Ground Floor Gallery in Brooklyn, various venues in Jersey City, and at New York City’s La Mamma LaGalleria and the Silk Building. His works also appear in numerous art-related publications.
Now through June 15 at the Canopy by Hilton, opened last year in Jersey City’s Powerhouse Arts District, an exhibition featuring Garver’s expressive works, along with those of other area artists, is on display throughout the hotel. Stefania Panepinto of Panepinto Galleries partnered with the Canopy to curate the event and sale to support the arts community.
Additionally, 11 new works by Garver recently debuted The Drawing Room’s DVORA Gallery (The Oakman, 160 1st St., Jersey City), Drawingrooms.org
Garver is looking forward to summer, when he returns to his annual getaway on Cape Cod with his family, and another studio where he finds fresh inspirations in the seaside surroundings.
“Each time I work, something new and unexpected will happen,” Garver enthused. “I want the piece to tell me, and keep the mystery and excitement. That feeling is everything to me. I hope I never lose the energy or desire. All my works have something truthful about them, and I hope everyone else feels that, too.”