James Erikson is an artist and librarian from Philadelphia. He makes paintings, prints, artists’ books, drawings, and sculptures.
Born in Plainfield, New Jersey but living most of his childhood in rural Central Pennsylvania, nature is a big influence on his work. Many days spent walking in the woods, across fields, and on the railroad tracks led to his exploring as an artist a connection between light and space and the emotions they cause.
He is also inspired by literature. In 2016 he exhibited at Stout Projects in Brooklyn, NY. The work in that show was based on John Ashbery’s poem Some Trees. His 2013 exhibition at LGTripp Gallery in Philadelphia featured paintings influenced by Lawrence Durrell’s The Alexandria Quartet. Currently he is making thematic work inspired by the title Origin of Oranges.
Despite being inclined toward abstraction there is a narrative intention in his work. “As I work I often think about the meaning of my art. Especially when a painting is finished, when I really like it, I ask myself, ‘What does it mean?’ Usually, I know when a work is good, or finished, and can sense that it has significant meaning but I might not be able to put that into words. That is why I am a visual artist and not a writer.”
He has shown his work in galleries in Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio. Erikson received his MFA from SUNY Purchase and his MLS from CUNY Queens.