October 17, 2009 - December 5, 2009
Felix Culpa, Todd Norsten, Conny Purtill, Josh Rickards
In gallery three are four paintings that constitute The Ground: an exhibition that includes artists Felix
Culpa, Todd Norsten, Conny Purtill, and Josh Rickards. The origin of each of these pieces began in
Purtill’s studio in Philadelphia, where the artist created relatively straightforward preparations of the
grounds for paintings. Building up substantial grounds through alternating layers of gray and white
gesso on canvas, Purtill then sanded the surfaces to a smooth finish and applied traces of graphite onto
the remaining white areas – effectively neutralizing the ground. These final surfaces have a casual
yet elegant ease about them, as though they were a found surface. These grounds were then delivered
to Culpa, Norsten, and Rickards. While Josh Rickards essentially covered the surface with edge-to-
edge plaid patterning using flashe paint, and Norsten’s addition of some text left the ground largely
untouched, Culpa’s treatment of the surface of the painting is perhaps more notable due to its secretive
nature. Whether anything was done to the surface of the canvas, other than embedding the painting
face down into the wall, is unknown.
Felix Culpa lives and works in Paris. Todd Norsten most recent solo exhibition, Drunkasaurus, was on view at Tinderbox gallery in Hamburg, Germany this fall. Conny Purtill lives and works in Philadelphia. Josh Rickards lives and works in Philadelphia, where he recently exhibited at Vox Populi.