Joshua Cunningham

Joshua lives in St. Paul, with his wife, Shannon and their children, Greta and William. Despite most of his subjects being found close to home, his paintings can be found in private collections throughout the US and a few in Europe. His work has garnered national recognition with inclusion in OPA National Juried Show and a feature in Plein Air Magazine. He was selected by the Science Museum of Minnesota as an Artist in Residence at the historic Pine Needles Cabin. With a growing regional reputation, Joshua’s work has been featured in numerous publications.

Joshua Cunningham grew up the third of five boys in rural Isanti, Minnesota.  His path to becoming a professional artist was as winding as the country roads from his youth. It began in the abstract art departments of St. Cloud State and St. John’s University. The summer break offered a unique opportunity to apprentice with Minnesota fresco painter Mark Balma. The summer became a yearlong classical drawing program. Mark had opened the door to a very old world of art, and rather than return to St. John’s, Joshua chose to continue his training at The Atelier in NE Minneapolis, focusing on figure and portrait drawing for two years. He spent the next four years at Hurinenko and Paquet Studio in St. Paul, studying portraiture, still life, figure drawing and plein air landscape painting. Landscape painting began as an afterthought, but with Joe Paquet’s inspiring work ethic and keen instruction, it quickly took over. For Joshua, few experiences were as challenging or enriching as painting on location. It brought Joshua back to his roots. He was learning to do what he had truly wanted to do as a boy.

Artist Statement:

We are here, just for a time. Barns are here, just for a time. Cities are here, just for a time. The practice of painting on location deepens this understanding. It isn’t long before I find myself defending my work against mercurial skies and the constant march of the sun. Shadows move and colors change, leaving me to paint from memory.

Oil Painting is the way I seek to understand what interests me, stirs my faith, and awakens memories. I paint what I see because I feel representational painting offers a human expression of the world around us in a language we all hold in common. My understanding and empathy for what can constitute a ‘subject’ continues to grow. As an artist, my primary goal is to continue getting better, so that I may do better by my subjects. If I have done right by them, the paintings have a chance to stir you as the scene has stirred me.

The field studies are finished work, in their own right. They hold in them the intense experience of their creation.  In the studio, these paintings return me to the scene, bringing back not only what I saw, but also the sounds, smells, and stories shared by the passing stranger. It is all in the paint along with dust from the fields and grit from the road. The work reflects the visual and visceral experiences of a deep and spontaneous exploration of our connection to the natural world.

Joshua Cunningham "Easing Winter" | 2018 | oil on mounted linen | $6,200.00
image: 30 x 40" | frame: 35.5 x 45.5"

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