UNVEILED Artist Insights—Paul Bulgin

May 3, 2021

The Bible has a very big part to play in my work. You may not see it, but it’s physically there in the color and shapes.

In the next month, artist Paul Bulgin is making some big moves. He is graduating from the UW-Madison MFA program, packing up all his art supplies from his campus studio, and transporting his family and body of work to Arkansas, where he has taken a position as an Assistant Professor of Visual Arts and Graphic Design at John Brown University, a private liberal arts institution.

Paul has three art pieces featured in UNVEILED Prayers of the People. Each of them has a connection to the Bible, which he says is critical to his creation process.

“The Bible has a very big part to play in my work. You may not see it, but it’s physically there in the color and shapes,” he says.

Before he starts a painting, Paul researches colors and their biblical meanings. He also listens to recordings of scripture being read out loud as he paints. He uses a variety of techniques, from spin to splatter to brush work and more.

Discussing three of his pieces in UNVEILED, Paul notes that the pieces tell a story. In 33, an abstract 48×48 inch painting on panel, “a Christian might see a crown, the age of Christ dying on the cross, or the words ‘for you.’ A person unfamiliar with the Christian narrative might mostly have questions.”

Another work—Smudge—is a splatter painting with rich layers of meaning. First, the viewer should note it is painted on “reclaimed wood.” Once discarded, Paul found and was inspired to use it for art. He painted the entire board black, including the edges, to denote its discarded state. Then, using paint from his Genesis-related work, Day Four: Two Great Lights, Paul radiantly illuminated the inner span of the painting. He said, “I wanted to acknowledge the fringes of our culture and our society with placement of the work at the edges of my space as I create. The painting shows the ways something from the fringes can be made beautiful. How do we draw the discarded from the edge and show their beauty?”

Now through May 6, you can meditate on Paul’s spin art and layered paintings at UNVEILED. Soon Paul will be packing up these evocative works to move to his new job in Arkansas. We wish him and his family the very best.