An Environmental and Feminist artist for over 50 years, I paint Earth’s diverse creatures and landscapes, exploring their beauty and demise through abstract and realist techniques and textures. Growing up in rural Pennsylvania I spent hours canoeing the beautiful rivers and lakes with my father and brother. One day we witnessed the water turning a sulfuric orange as rocks and dead fish floated by. That day I became an environmentalist.
After graduating Carnegie Mellon University, I earned an MA from New York University which enabled me to make a living teaching art while painting. My first exhibit, "Elegy to Nature," was in New York City in 1967. In the seventies, I received four one-woman shows and received a C.A.P.S. NY state graphics award. Later, I traveled extensively, painting the dark volcanic islands of the Galapagos, the fierce beauty of the Grand Canyon, the extraordinary animals of Africa and the subtle waters of Long Island. These travels inspired my series of "Billboard" paintings that depict the rampant destruction of our wildest landscapes.
In 1980, after a serious car accident and lengthy recovery, a sense of the fragility of life tinged my art. The resulting work is a series of paintings called "Industrial Park." This series addresses pollution, the extinction of plants and animals, and global disasters. I use oil paint with iridescent pigments to simulate broken glass, mine tailings, and rainbow-like oil spills.
My environmental arts are in the permanent collections of the Museo de los Ninos in Costa Rica and several more museums. Recently, I was a recipient of a Pollock Krasner grant, exhibited at the Accola/Griefen Gallery in NYC, and was honored to have a 40 year retrospective at the Stone Quarry Hill Art Park in Cazenovia, New York. I currently live and paint on Shelter Island, NY.
ON VIEW NOW: Janet Culbertson artwork has been curated into "art.now.2019 | metamorphosis: changing climate" at Hearst Galleries in NYC. The exhibition can be viewed online by clicking here.