cover image Island: Paintings by Tom Curry

Island: Paintings by Tom Curry

Terry Tempest Williams, Carl Little, and Tom Curry. Down East, $19.95 (80p) ISB

Maine’s Chatto Island and the sky and water that surround it are the subject of Curry’s artistic obsession, and have been since 1996, resulting in more than 40 paintings. What about this landscape has so inspired the artist? When such a question—combining spirituality and nature—arises, Tempest Williams (Leap) is the most obvious commentator. She provides a brief but deft introduction to pave the way for reproductions of Curry’s paintings. Her writing is both graceful and profound, e.g., describing the snow in one of the winter landscapes: “Each flake is painted as a world falling.” An essay by art critic Little provides context, situating Curry among American landscape painters, offering a description of Curry’s studio, and running through his accomplishments. But it is Curry’s essay that provides the real revelation—his homage to the island is grounded in a fear of the ocean. When he was very young, his mother inadvertently pinned him under water after a powerful wave knocked them over: “The panic of that struggle seeped into my dreams.” That Curry has since lived on and painted islands (including Hawaii) is testament to the significance of the subconscious in creative expression. Curry’s paintings—some more photo-realistic, some more impressionistic—speak as much. (June)