James Grubola



James Grubola joined the Department of Fine Arts and the Hite Art Institute after completing his MFA at Indiana University Bloomington where he worked with Distinguished Professor Rudy Pozzatti. A native Detroiter, Grubola earned his BFA from Wayne State University in both printmaking and drawing. It was during this time that Grubola first began work with the medieval drawing technique of silverpoint. Although he continues to work in a number of different media and techniques including printmaking, his true passion has been for drawing.

Grubola has maintained an active exhibition record highlighted by several one and two person exhibitions including “30 Years of Silverpoint Drawing” at Nazareth Gallery in Nazareth, Kentucky and “Lines on the Landscape” an exhibition in the University’s Hite Galleries / Belknap and the Evansville Museum of Art and Science. Grubola’s work has also been exhibited in numerous invitational and traveling exhibitions and represented in the permanent collections of the Speed Art Museum, and the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and corporate collections of Bristol Myers Squibb, Eastman Kodak, and McGraw Hill Inc.

In 1975 Grubola joined the faculty of the Department of Fine Arts at the University of Louisville where he has served as head of the drawing program. He teaches courses on all levels of drawing from beginning through graduate, including being one of the few to currently teach anatomy for the artist. In 2001 he was recognized by the University of Louisville's Alumni Association with the “Red Apple Award” for excellence in teaching and has been nominated for the Acorn Award for excellence in teaching at the university level in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Grubola also served as Chair of the Department of Fine Arts and Director of the Hite Art Institute for 16 years. During his tenure he overseen many changes to the department including the creation of the Mary Spencer Nay Scholarship Endowment, the addition of a program in glass along with the construction of the Cressman Center for Visual Arts - the university’s first, permanent, non-medical facility located in downtown Louisville, and the adoption of a selective admissions policy for the department. Grubola was named the 2008 recipient of the “Trustee's Award”, one of the university's highest awards which each year recognizes one faculty member who has had the greatest positive impact on students at the University of Louisville.

Professor Grubola's drawings consist of graphite and silver point. Among printing processes used are Cliche-verre (hand-drawn negatives printed using platinum based photographic process) and lithographs. Recent work involves images and references to groupings, family and marriage through symbolic use of sticks, roots and branches with draped cloth. There are references also to drawing as a process. Also involved is research with anatomy and life drawing.

Artist's Statement

“The Liminal Series”

liminal: occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold.

A sense of order has always been an important part of my work. “The Liminal Series” has grown out of this concern and my interest in the nature of lines as used in mapping, astronomy, and in this body of work: the threshold between interwoven lines of vines and branches. As an avocational gardener, I am aware of the unrelenting force of nature to reclaim land cleared for cultivation. I am constantly clearing and removing unwanted and dead clumps of vegetation from my property and noticing vines overtaking fences, signposts and other manmade barriers erected along the roadside. As an artist and draughtsman, the linear structure of these vines, denuded of leaves, provide me with an abstract grammar of pattern which I have used to define and develop the surface of the drawing in this series. I am as interested in the thickness of a stem as it grows and weaves through space as I am the proportional relationship between the branches and the space between them. By using lines of varying thickness, thinness, softness and hardness, along with fleeting singular marks and nest-like concentrations I want to cause the surface to vibrate with a sense of spatial depth. I hope that one feels that there is a clear underlying order but one which is continually being disturbed and interrupted. I am seeking a reciprocation between line and surface; between stasis and movement: between vertical ascension and horizontal extension while building a grey haze of graphite or silver to occupy the liminal state between black and white.

Course Offerings

ART 207: Foundation Figure Drawing
ART 505: Advanced Figure Drawing
ART 506: Themes and Concepts in Drawing
ART 507: Directed Study in Drawing
ART 509: Anatomy and Life Drawing
ART 605: Workshop in Drawing
ART 606: Professional Practice in Drawing


Figure Drawing • Anatomy and Life Drawing • Themes and Concepts in Drawing


“Botanica” Art and the Garden, Botanica - Waterfront Botanical Gardens, Louisville, Women’s Club, Louisville, Kentucky, 2014
“Hite Art Institute Faculty Exhibition” Cressman Center for Visual Arts, University of, Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, 2014
Two Person Exhibition w/ Kay Polson Grubola, Mann and Fox, Louisville, Kentucky, 2013
Two Person Exhibition w/ John Whitesell, Clayton Center for the Arts, Blackberry Farm Gallery, Maryville College, Maryville,, Tennessee, 2013
“Natural Inclinations: Invitational Exhibition James Grubola, Bette Levy, Kay Polson Grubola,, Valerie Henderson” Pyro Gallery, Louisville, Kentucky, 2013
“A Fine Line: Contemporary Drawing” National Juries Exhibition (Juror: Anne Harris), Claypool-Young Art Gallery, Morehead State University, Morehead, Kentucky 2013
“State of Drawing”, Anne Wright Wilson Fine Art Gallery, Georgetown College, Georgetown, KY, 2011
“Collective Memories” with Mary Ann Currier and Kay Polson Grubola (Invitational), College of Mount St. Joseph Gallery, College of Mt. St. Joseph, Cincinnati, OH, 2011
“Geoff Carr & Friends” (Invitational), Firehouse Gallery, Louisville, KY, 2011

Service to Profession

Board Member, International Honor Quilt Project, Hite Art Institute, University of Louisville, 2014 - present
Member, Exhibitions Committee, Jewish Community Center, Patio Gallery, Louisville, KY,  2011 - present
Member, Planning Committee for Glass Art Society Annual Conference, 2010, Louisville, KY