‘Physical, emotional, spiritual’

Tara Bradbury
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Clem Curtis presents a new body of work, including some recognizable subjects

Clem Curtis admits his approach to making art is varied, and includes brushing, digging, scraping, blotting, removing and glazing, among other techniques.

‘Self’ by Clem Curtis, oil on canvas. The painting is part of an exhibit of new works by
Curtis running at the Christina Parker Gallery in St. John’s until May 3.

The result, however, is always insightful, always emotional.

With his newest body of work, Curtis is dealing with the human condition, presenting a series of oil paintings dominated by portraits.

Images range from his partner, Sheila, in a head towel and his daughter as a small child on the beach, to portraits of friends in the arts community, such as Kenneth J. Harvey, Ruth Lawrence and Philip Dinn, the late Figgy Duff performer.

Another painting shows four masked members of Russian feminist punk-rock protest group Pussy Riot, whose expressions Curtis has expertly captured through only their eyes and mouths.

“In my view, the portraits capture what a person is feeling while they look at you,” Curtis says in his artist statement.

“It is my intention to reveal a sense of their momentary thoughts with me as the subject of their gaze. The immediate thought is to create a certain connection or communion between the subject and the viewer.

“I want each painting to be individual and to reveal the emotion of the artist, the subject and the viewer simultaneously.”

Creating the paintings, Curtis says, required physical, emotional and spiritual intensity.

The exhibition of Curtis’s new work is running at the Christina Parker Gallery, 50 Water Street, until May 3.


Twitter: @tara_bradbury

Geographic location: 50 Water Street

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