3/9/2021 – 6/6/2021

Tom Kirk is a sculptor and painter living in San Anselmo, California. His exhibition at IAMA exemplifies his inner artist finding a means of balance from feeling sadness and joy, then utilizing different creative outlets to channel those two contradictory emotions. Kirk’s paintings are all about light and color, while his sculpture has a dark and sad edge that can make it difficult for him to create. This collection of paintings is part of a series of landscapes that have been the artist’s interest for the past 12 years. As a painter, he likes to incorporate the tradition and formality of a landscape, but as time passes, the sky has become increasingly prevalent. Clouds in their infinite variety and challenging demeanor have become his subject matter of choice.

“I have always been most affected by paintings that incorporate dramatic clouds. I have been influenced by the clouds on church ceilings and in Gothic paintings. When I am painting clouds, I find peace and calm because I feel as though I am connected to all other artists who paint clouds or have painted clouds before me.  As I paint, I begin sensing the time when the piece starts to look like something and begins to “give back.” Then I am in the clouds that I am painting, in an infinite space. I can then stop thinking of what I am painting, or even thinking at all. I find myself letting my body paint while I witness what is happening. I feel myself being one with something that is not my conscious self, but part of all that is not me. I am not looking at anything as subject matter while painting, just feeling. 

This “place” has not always been easily available, as in, I can’t just flip a switch and be there. However, it has been easier to create in this place the more I paint. The more mindful I am of letting go of my thoughts, the faster I can get to this place. I have gone on many hikes lately, starting right from my house. I have discovered some wonderful trails that have inspired this series of paintings of Mount Tamalpais. I am amazed by the beauty I see right out my back door and want to capture it and share it.”.

Tom Kirk tends to focus more on the paintings because they have light and bring him joy. But he still feels the need to address the darker side of life. Through his birds, he tries to be a voice for the plight of our increasingly dangerous natural world.