Neil Callander is a painter and Assistant Professor of Painting at the University of Arkansas. Born in Louisville KY, he attended Indiana University (BFA, 2003) and then Rutgers University (MFA, 2006). Additionally, Neil was an enthusiastic resident at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture during the summer of 2005. After graduate school Neil worked as a painting assistant for the artist Jeff Koons in his New York studio.
In 2007 Neil and family left New York to pursue a career as a professional teacher and artist. This decision has offered a tour of the South with time spent in Louisville KY, Starkville MS and Tuscaloosa AL. He now lives and works in Fayetteville AR with his wife, son, mother-in-law and two dogs.
A painting’s visual layers and individual marks compress time, providing an experience that resists quick absorption by the viewer. I pack a painting with cultural and personal references and work toward an image that is visually provocative yet narratively open to interpretation. I construct elaborate setups and paint them through careful observation, focusing on the meanings objects collect post-consumption as they enter and participate in our lives. I sidestep Pop Art's ironic vision, and instead borrow stylistically from Flemish Golden Age painters to comment on material abundance in American culture. Of particular influence is the master of the crowded market stall, Frans Snyders, who mixed symbols of life and death, while embracing nasty moments as part of a delightful whole.
The more populated the composition, the denser, tighter, and more intricate the internal relationships become. The act of viewing my paintings is an unlocking of these internal relationships. Experiencing dense paintings that slowly reveal their nature provides a counter-balance to the pervasiveness of fast-talking, slick images. In a media-riddled world, painting offers a stabilizing force.