Tom Curry


Tom Curry

As a plein air painter, he immerse himself in landscape to explore the relationships between stillness and flux. What we call a “place” is a paradox—it is not fixed but always changing: the light shifts from moment to moment, water is never still, clouds come and go.

For the past 18 years, he has painted the landscape around his home in Maine, including a small island just offshore that has become the subject of a series of more than 60 paintings, many of which are collected in the book Island, published in 2012. In this series, he paints the interplay of light, island, sky and water as metaphor and meditation on place and time and the dance between what we perceive as eternal and ephemeral.

He is drawn to paint both the raw, wild places and the small villages and harbors on the peninsula where he live—working outdoors where he can be in direct contact with the clear, searing light or the dense fog, the heat of the sun or a frigid wind, the sounds of crickets or distant drone of a fishing boat, the smell of salt. He seeks to create a powerful and intimate sense—and experience—of these places using layers of saturated color and compositions distilled to bold, elemental forms.

In his work he seeks to express that we are not mere observers of landscape, but also participants. I want to encourage the viewer to engage with landscape not as a passive backdrop of scenery, place names, or historic events, but as alive, wild, muscular, and ultimately unknowable—layered with history, yes, but also breathing, ever-changing and seamless.

Many artists influence his work, including: Ferdinand Hodler, Jean-Etienne Liotard, Wolf Kahn, Marsden Hartley, J.M.W. Turner and Rockwell Kent. I also find inspiration in Jean Baptiste-Camille Corot’s paintings of the Italian countryside, as well in the work of Bunny Harvey, Peter Doig and Per Kirkeby.