May 14 – June 18, 2005
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 14th, 6-8pm

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The Cicus Comes To Town (for Nicky)


A Kevin Tolman painting hanging on the wall brings the natural world indoors, creating an environment within an environment. The canvas seems to vibrate in the sunlight. Each mark registers on the eye and translates precisely to another of the senses, becoming the chirr of an insect or the nick of a thorn or the taste of a snowflake. Every incident on the vibrant surface provides a clue to the puzzle of existence.

Tolman inhabits his surroundings with an intensity rarely encountered in today’s cool and codified life. A mature, highly articulate intellectual, he nevertheless retains the ability to see nature with the sharp, fresh awareness of a child. In a world fully perceived, the essence requires no literal explanation in order to be understood.

Tolman draws intensely and incessantly. He draws on envelopes, napkins, and telephone books. He draws in sketchbooks he keeps everywhere – in his car, by the telephone, in his backpack when he hikes around New Mexico. He sketches in the orchard and by the pond and irrigation ditches around his studio, looking at flowers and seed pods and beetles with his magnifying glass. He has a large outdoor easel and workspace. A short walk takes him to the Rio Grande, which is the major flyway for migratory birds in the Southwest.

From the intimacy of a familiar microcosm in his own back yard, Tolman takes his powers of observation out into the global arena by traveling the world. He spent time in New York City and Cape Cod last fall. He has recently visited South America, touring Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Santiago, Chile. "I draw in cafés, hotel rooms and parks," he says. "I love to be part of the daily life of a foreign place by working there." Through the years, he returns to Portugal, where he once lived and where he finds an inexhaustible source of imagery.

From this vast quantity of material, Tolman distills unique paintings that find their way into important public, corporate, and private collections. He begins with the germ of an idea, then builds it up in layers, scrapes some of it away, and adds organic details. He scratches into the surface to provide sensory clues that slowly reveal the rich interior life of the painting. "There is never even one painting that unfolds in the same way, or in a way I expect," says Tolman, "and so there is a great sense of exploration. I believe the reason that I am driven to create is the fact that my work is something that can constantly surprise me. It is as much about this process as it is about the finished piece."

Kevin Tolman’s paintings are included in the permanent collections of the Albuquerque Museum of Art, the Neiman Marcus Collection as well as numerous private collections.

Previous Exhibitions

Sevan Melikyan - ‘AFTER’ SERIES II: April 2 – May 2, 2005

A FOCUSED VISION - Group Exhibition: February 11 – March 26, 2005

Scottie Parsons - NEW PAINTINGS: December 3, 2004 – January 8, 2005

J.T. Grant - BÊTE NOIRE: September 18 – October 23, 2004

SURFACE - Group Exhibition: June 19 – September 4, 2004

Judy Youngblood - NEW WORK: May 1 - June 5, 2004