Theater & art

James Case, Boston University

26, painting

James Case.

James Case.

James Case’s “Blue Flowers, Pink Stripes.”

Here’s what Case has learned in his time at BU: Simplify.

“I came here trying to paint out of my head, and it was a mess,” he says. “I needed something to look at.”


So he went down to the same stretch of the Charles River twice a day and painted, trying to arrive at the pivot point between abstraction and representation. He was looking at paintings by Matisse, Milton Avery, Edward Hopper. Then he took up still-life painting, which presented a new set of problems. “Abstraction is more difficult with still lifes,” Case says. “I was moving into flattening shapes, bringing up the values.”

His floral still lifes, flat, vibrant, and sparsely detailed, dance with pattern, and, though traditional in some ways, are sprightly and fresh. The simpler, Case found, the better, and also the more challenging.

Get Today's Headlines in your inbox:
The day's top stories delivered every morning.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

“I don’t want to get stuck into a pattern where I know how to make a painting,” Case says. “I want it to be an investigation.”

Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.
You're reading  1 of 5 free articles.
Get UNLIMITED access for only 99¢ per week Subscribe Now >
You're reading1 of 5 free articles.Keep scrolling to see more articles recomended for you Subscribe now
We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of
Marketing image of