“For those of us who have lived a long time in the Maine landscape, it is as if Tom Curry were rendering the ache of the familiar and beloved,”
Susan Hand Shetterly–Down East Magazine.
As a plein air painter, I immerse myself 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, I have painted the landscape around my 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, I paint 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.
I am drawn to paint both the raw, wild places and the small villages and harbors on the peninsula where I live—working outdoors where I 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. I seek 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 my work I seek 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 my 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.