October 2016 through July 2017

The dynamics of desire:
the evocative works of Jim costello

The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, Winchester, Virginia

The world that artist Jim Costello paints is a place of luminous abstractions and curvilinear representations. These completely re-envision familiar scenes from his life and surroundings. The wind has weight. Figures float in defiance of the laws of physics. Shadows stand alone in contrast to mysterious characters. Costello cites the American painter Arthur Dove as a major influence. Working in the early decades of the twentieth century, Dove said of art, "It is the form the idea takes in the imagination rather than the form as it exists outside." Like Dove, Costello depicts the world as he imagines it to be. His compositions evoke forces of nature, often embodied in the female form.

Costello began painting in the Valley in the early 1970s. His 200-year-old log home, nestled in a pine forest outside Strasburg, Virginia, served as his studio. Painting for himself for nearly fifty years, he quietly amassed a large body of work. This included hundreds of abstract and figural paintings depicting his surroundings. Although formally trained, Costello never pursued a career as a professional artist. He retired from painting around 2005, little known to those outside his immediate circle. This is the first museum exhibition of his work.

Jim Costello's lifestyle embodies the rugged characteristics of the Valley's rural residents. His paintings, however, resemble those of a modern master.