Artist Profile: James Earl


Discovery. It’s all about discovery. Searching. Experimenting. Watching. James Earl explores “novel ways to make marks on paper and organize them into coherent images.” This involves math: the systematic placement of two-dimensional configurations and, he says, “the arrangement of blank space, including the margins around a central image.”

Jim has spent his life searching. Always looking. As a physicist, he discovered cosmic ray electrons by launching high altitude balloons in the 1950s and has taught physics at the University of Minnesota and the University of Maryland.

Jim Earl was “inspired” when he walked into a California art gallery and saw Andy Warhol’s Brillo Boxes. Fascinated, he began making silkscreen prints like “Metro Test.” That led to a deep interest in art and art classes at UMD and eventually to a degree in art. That, in turn, brought a desire to draw. You see that in “Kinder Park Pavilion,” a photo etching based on a charcoal drawing.

The newer etchings, like “Sparrows Point” may appear to be an expression of particular scene or object rather than reflect or replicate the actual appearance. But when you look closely, they incorporate the same disciplines of organizing positive and negative spaces. It becomes a mathematically arranged composition.

Jim found the art history classes to be the most rewarding. He treasures the traditions of art, from cave drawings to religious icons to the Italian Renaissance—from the Impressionists to Pop Art.  It is all about discovery—the arrangements of form and space often not realized by the casual observer. But it is there: the physics of art…the inherent mathematics.

This is his first solo show, a “retrospective.” See “At the Galleries” for gallery information and images from the exhibition.

Jim Magner’s Thoughts on Art
Art and Math. Opposites?
Art is qualitative as all get out. Mysterious. Enigmatic.
Art is the transfer of reality, yet, the transfer of the imagined.
Art is the miracle of light with the power of impulse.
Art is ideas descending from the heavens.
Art can bring ecstasy or desolation.
Art is elegance with beauty.
Art can enrage with hurt.
Art can set you free. Flying so high. Into eternity.
Art is so personal but can be shared by looks and touches. Soaring together.
Art is being one with the sounds and sights of living things.
Art is consciousness of the raw earth and seas and roaring winds. Grinding. Eroding. Flowing. Exploding.

Math is quantitative as all get out. Totally.
Math brings measurement. In everything.
Math is the rock bottom base of bigger/smaller—less/more—faster/slower.
Math measures and defines with numbers. Cold hard numbers.
But wait…Math is not cold. It is the proportions of nature and principals of natural order.
Math is the internal mechanisms of all living things. Of being alive.
Math is ladder of inquiry.
Math is the stairway to seeing. Really seeing.
Math is the composition of understanding.
Math and art are lovers. Sometimes secret lovers. Sometimes bold. Forever entwined in a passion for meaning. It’s the passion of mathematical precision and delicate sensibility, joined in the searching. Always searching for the source. The beginning.

At the Galleries

Touchstone Gallery has a “3D all member show.” The exhibition is on line with an added guided tour.

National Museum of Women (NMWA) features, online, the work of the influential Latin American photographer, Graciela Iturbide. This is a major exhibit of the artist’s work.

Artomatic rides again with  “Artomatic 2.0, a Virtual Event.” It’s the 20th Anniversary! The website will have all the visual artists, the performance artists and all the usual fun.

Zenith Gallery Presents: Women Sculptors Bringing Balance with Humor. The featured Artists are: Jan Kirsh, Barbara Kobylinska, Cindy Winnick. Check it out on the website.

Foundry Gallery: To August 30. “Now and Then: Fifty Years of Prints.”  James Earl (see Artist Profile) This Jim Earl’s first solo exhibit and a comprehensive look at his artistic progression and evolution from early silk screens to etchings. The gallery may be opened on select days, but you can view the whole exhibit at,

Capitol Hill Art League (CHAL) presents “Meltdown.” It is virtual for now but may be installed live in September. Congratulations to the prize winners: Rindy O’Brien, 1st, Jason Jafferi, 2nd, and Judith Searles, 3rd, and Honorable Mentions, Linda Norton and Kim DiDonato. You can see the whole 29 artist show at:

Middle East Institute’s MEI Art Gallery presents Lebanon Then and Now: Photography from 2006 to 2020. It features 50 works by 17 Lebanese art and documentary photographers.