About Joseph Culotta
When beholding art, typically we like to think that what we see is what we see. However, to learn what the artist sees – what he wants the viewer to grasp - adds purpose, deeper meaning, and often time, a deeper appreciation. Understanding and appreciating abstract or modern art can be intimidating to say the least. When fortunate enough to have an artist’s statement about the work, deconstructing meaning and purpose becomes somewhat less daunting. If there is no statement or description, consider Picasso’s words:
There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward, you can remove all traces of reality. There is no danger then, anyway, because the idea of the object will have left an indelible mark. It is what started the artist off, excited his ideas, and stirred up his emotions. Ideas and emotions will in the end be prisoners in his work.
Picasso on Art, ed. Dore Ashton (1972), p.64
Beloved Houston artist Joseph “Joe” Culotta. Culotta is renowned locally and nationally, for his acclaimed modernist artworks. Artist Culotta’s versatility is evident in his mastery of various medias: oils, acrylics, jewelry design, pen and ink, pencil and watercolors; and content: abstract paintings, landscapes, seascapes, portraits, graphics and illustrations. Joe’s statement provides that deeper look into the meaning and purpose of his work:
“My first approach to art was developed from an inner sense of love of nature and being able to place this on a piece of paper as drawing. To develop a skill of realism with paint or pencil was a real challenge. However, as I matured, I felt a need to go beyond the imitation of realism to abstract design.
To me art transcends and reflects the soul and very existence of why we are feeling and thinking creatures. Art to me is the voice of communication said not in words, but in visual imagery. When I begin to create a painting it is a process of thoughtful contemplation and development through color, line, form, and texture patterns that speak to the viewer those feelings that I wish to convey without words. The connection between painting and myself gives me the ability to communicate to the viewer.”
With degrees in Art and Art Education, Culotta taught art for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Glassell School of Art, Houston, the Houston Independent School District, The Genesis Center, Dominican College, the University of Houston, and the Houston Community College. In addition to the influence of this locale on his art, his travels across the United States, Mexico, Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean have broadened his experience and sharpened his talents. Many local galleries, law offices and design firms showcase his work.
See their work of artist Culotta, contemplate, feel, and allow the artist to reveal his ideas and emotions through the remaining prisoners on the canvas.
In addition to the influence of the locale of Houston, Texas on his art, his travels across the United States, Mexico, Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean have broadened his experience and sharpened his talents. As varied in presentation as his travels, the settings for his exhibitions have ranged from local restaurants to the law offices of Jaworski and Associates. Sites for other exhibitions have included the Genesis Center, Alpha to Omega Gallery, Amparo and Squidge Gallery, Archway Gallery, and Pilie Showroom at the Interior Resource Center.
In his efforts to further communication through art, Mr. Culotta has been active for over twenty years in developing the artistic skills of fledgling artists in the Houston area. He currently teaches art to over five hundred students at Horn Academy, a magnet school in HISD (Houston Independent School District). He served on the advisory council of the Texas Art Educators Association. He is a member of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, as well as the Houston Art League. Mr. Culotta also participated as a member of the Task Team for the Bicentennial Art Commission for Houston and Harris County. Most recently, he coordinated art for the Texas Children's Hospital Annual Fundraiser.