Portfolio > In Memoriam - The Artwork of James E. Ulrich

About James E. Ulrich
This area is dedicated to the work and memory of my late husband, James E. Ulrich. He died in 2001, at age 51 from suicide after years of severe clinical depression.
James was an extraordinary artist, intellect and visionary thinker. The works presented reflect part of an oeuvre that includes oil paintings, pastels, graphite drawings, watercolors and mixed media. In addition to his visual artworks, James also wrote screenplays, essays and short story fiction.
Visionary Painter
James E. Ulrich (1949-2001) was an artist of tremendous emotional intellect who created visual symbols that expressed the predicament of being human and existing in the world, or as he would say, “…this is how things feel.” Intuitively drawn and conceived through the process of his studio practice, Ulrich’s work is a journey so deeply felt and personal as to become universal in its ability to resonate and connect empathetically with the viewer. The images are iconic in their presentation and the semiotics of the work enriched by the various metaphoric references and relationships depicted in his compelling compositions.
Ulrich’s oeuvre was influenced by his extensive readings in literature and philosophy as well as his own writings. Many classical and allegorical quotes may be gleaned from experiencing the work, as well as juxtapositions that question and revise that which might be initially assumed. However, the history of each work–rather than being a planned illustration of a particular concept–involved suspending his rational and erudite mind in favor of an automatic method of working and subliminal extrapolation. The images were allowed to emerge from his subconscious and trigger the emotions suggested, honestly and personally before being fixed in an artwork. There is sometimes humor, but little irony in the work. Ulrich explored his vulnerabilities and risked all in the studio in his quest for authentic expression. This level of intimate knowing was, however, far from self-indulgent. Ulrich offers us the gift of his awareness and invites us to a personal and collective dialog on life, anxiety and hope—an apt conversation that is both timeless and contemporary. The depth of his investigation is supported by his unwavering attention to the materiality of his media whether it was oils, watercolor or pastel. He studied as an undergraduate at Yale University (B.A., 1971) and the lessons learned there from William Bailey among others is evident in his consummate handling of paint and intentional use of composition to create a dramatic visual narrative–he is a painter’s painter–as well as a poignant and articulate storyteller.
Born in Minneapolis and raised in the Midwest, Ulrich lived and worked as an artist in New York City during the mid-1970’s before moving to Oregon in 1977. He realized his mature work there, influenced by the atmosphere and mystical aesthetic of the Northwest. Recurring thematic subjects such as the wayfarer, the holy fool, candles, illuminated trees, wounded protagonists and vanitas objects populate Ulrich’s canvasses like archetypes in a Medieval Passion play. They are his actors in a visually stunning choreography of the duality and dependency between light and dark.” The piece is finished when there is the correct balance between despair and hope.” (Ulrich)
For sales and exhibition information for work of James E. Ulrich please contact the Estate of James E. Ulrich at: kathleencaprarioart@gmail.com.

Achievements of James E. Ulrich

EDUCATION
1987 M.F.A. degree in painting and drawing, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon. Studies included Art History sequences in Romanesque, Renaissance, and Modern Art
1975-76 Art Students’ League, New York City, New York. Studied painting with Theodoros Stamos
1967-71 B.A., Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. Studied with William Bailey, Bernard Chaet, Richard Lytle, and Jack Lembeck

SELECTED COLLECTIONS
Pierson College (45th Reunion Gift) Yale University, CT
Reading Islands, New Eugene Public Library, Eugene, OR, Percent for Art Commission
Hemingway Western Studies Center, Boise State University, Boise, ID
Ucross Foundation, Ucross, WY

LECTURES AND AWARDS
2001 “Reading Islands” Percent for Art Integrated Art Commission, New Eugene Public Library, Eugene, OR
1993 Best of Show Award, New Zone Gallery, Eugene, OR
1991 Bach Festival Poster Selection and Award, Eugene, OR
1988 Artist Residency Award, Ucross Foundation, Ucross, WY
1987 Alternate, McDowell Colony Fellowship Program, Petersborough, NH
Finalist, Oregon Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship Program, OR
Juror’s Prize, “All Oregon Art Annual”, State Capitol, Salem, OR
1986 Purchase Award and work reproduced in WesternVisions catalog, Hemingway Western Studies Center, Boise State University, Boise, ID
Juror’s Award, “Oregon 2-D”, Bush Barn Gallery, Salem, OR
Philip Johnson Awards for scholarship, University of Oregon
1985 Philip Johnson Awards for scholarship, University of Oregon
Lecture and panel discussion, Lane Community College, Eugene, OR

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS
2004 “presence: absence” Lane Community College, Eugene, OR
2003 “Library Commission Artists” Gallery at the Airport, Eugene, OR
2002 “Works of Faith” First Presbyterian Church, Portland, OR, Charles Froelick, juror
2001 31st Willamette Valley Juried Exhibition, Bruce Guenther, juror. Corvallis Art Center, Corvallis, OR
“All in the Family” invitational show, Gallery at the Airport, Eugene, OR
“Reading Islands” commission for the New Eugene Public Library, Eugene, OR
2000 “Winners” invitational show of former winners of the Mayor’s Art Show, Gallery at the Airport, Eugene, OR
1999 “Legends and Myths” juried exhibition, Anchorage Museum of History and Art, Anchorage, AK
1997 “The Artful Box” invitational exhibition, University of Oregon Museum of Art, Eugene, OR
“Works of Faith” juried exhibition, First Presbyterian Church, Portland, OR
1996 “Ninth Annual Human Form” juried exhibition, Newport Visual Arts Center, Newport, OR
“Mayor’s Art Show” Jacob’s Gallery, Eugene,OR
1995 “The 25th Annual Willamette Valley Juried Exhibition” Corvallis Art Center, Corvallis, OR
“Mayor’s Art Show” juried exhibition, Jacob’s Gallery, Eugene, OR
1994 “The Millennium” invitational exhibition, New Zone Gallery, Eugene, OR
1993 “Willamette Valley Juried Exhibition” juror: Terri Hopkins, Corvaliis Art Center, Corvallis, OR
“Lane County Juried Show” New Zone Gallery, Eugene, OR
1992 “This is how things feel…” William White Gallery, Two-person exhibition, Eugene, OR
“Willamette Valley Juried Exhibition” juror: William Jamison, Corvallis Art Center, Corvallis, OR
“Human Form” juried exhibition, Newport Visual Arts Center, Newport, OR
1991 Oregon Bach Festival; Work selected for Festival poster, cover of program, and exhibition in Hult Center, Eugene, OR
“War and Peace” invitational exhibition, New Zone Gallery, Eugene, OR
1989 “Celebration of the Arts in Oregon” juried exhibition, State Capitol Building, Salem, OR
“Faces” invitational exhibition, New Zone Gallery, Eugene, OR
1988 “Non-Objective Landscape” Curator: Terri Hopkins, Art Gym, Marylhurst College, Marylhurst, OR
Gallery 141, Annual faculty show University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
“Small Works” invitational exhibition, Marianne Partlow Gallery, Olympia, WA
1987 “Oregon Biennial” juried exhibition, Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR
“Oregon Biennial” State-wide touring exhibition, l987-88
“All Oregon Art Annual” Armory Auditorium, Salem, OR
“Introductions” invitational exhibition, Laura Russo Gallery, Portland, OR
“M.F.A. Exhibition” University of Oregon Museum of Art, Eugene, OR
“Eighth Annual Exhibition” juried show, Umpqua Community College, Roseburg, OR
1986 “Western Visions” invitational exhibition Hemingway Western Studies Center, Boise State University, Boise, ID
1986 “Oregon 2-D” juror: Sherwin Simmons, Bush Barn Gallery, Salem, OR
“The Artist Interprets the Landscape” invitational exhibition, Blackfish Gallery, Portland, OR
1984 Lane Community College Art Gallery, Two-person exhibition, Eugene, OR
“Western Region Painting and Drawing Exhibition” juror: Terry Melton, Stevenson Union Art Gallery, Southern Oregon State College, Ashland, OR
“Coast to Coast” invitational exhibition, Public Image Gallery, New York City, NY
Group Show, Project Space Gallery, Eugene, OR
1983 Group Show, Artists’ Union Gallery, Eugene, OR
“Five Eugene Artists” invitational exhibition, Lane Community College Art Gallery, Eugene, OR

REVIEWS AND PUBLICATIONS
2004 Register Guard, February 22. “presence:absence” review by Bob Keefer
1988 The Oregonian, November 5. Review by Barry Johnson
Artweek, December 3, vol. 19, no. 41. Review by Lois Allen, “Looking At The Land”
1987 The Register Guard, December 11. Review of Oregon Biennial exhibition
The Oregonian, July 24. Review by Barry Johnson
Willamette Week, July 23-29 issue, “Getting To Know You”
1987 What’s Happening, June 11-17, vol. VI, no. 22. Review by Elizabeth Brinton
1986 University News, October 27. Boise State University, review by Jeanette Ross
The Oregonian, August 14. Review by Barry Johnson, “Landscape Show Broadens The Terms”
The Oregonian, August 8. Photograph of work selected for gallery section
The Torch, November 29. Review by Jackie Barry, Lane Community College
Western Visions, Hemingway Western Studies Invitational Exhibition Catalog, Boise State University, ID
1984 Western Region Painting and Drawing Exhibition, exhibition catalog

TEACHING AND ART-RELATED EXPERIENCE
2001 Adjunct Instructor in drawing, University of Oregon
1990 Adjunct Instructor in drawing, University of Oregon
1989 Adjunct Instructor in drawing, University of Oregon
Adjunct Instructor in drawing, Lane Community College, Eugene, OR
1988 Adjunct Instructor in watercolor painting, University of Oregon
1986-87 Graduate Teaching Fellowship in watercolor painting and drawing, University of Oregon
1980-83 Co-op member of both Project Space and Artists’ Union Galleries, Eugene, OR