Kim Curtis moved to Illinois following a career in costume design and a second degree in painting. For thirteen years, Ms. Curtis had been designing and constructing costumes for theaters throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, culminating in a six-year stint as Master Crafts-person for the San Francisco Opera Costume Department. During this time Curtis constructed the armor, jewelry headdresses and masks for some of the world’s most renowned singers and designers. She then returned to the California College of the Arts to further develop the aesthetic she had honed through years of costume sketching.
Ms. Curtis holds separate degrees in History of Art and Painting from the University of California at Berkeley and the California College of the Arts, respectively. Both her costume work and her study of art have allowed her to work extensively abroad, mainly in Italy and Germany. She now paints full-time in her studio in rural Urbana, where her work reflects the effect of place on a Painter exploring the switch from figure to landscape, vertical to horizontal and urban to agricultural.
The landscape we observe today is one inherited from the past: a history of additions, subtractions, restorations and reconfigurations. Whether our surroundings are urban or rural, our uses and intentions for them are constantly changing. We introduce materials, we remove others. We excavate and we replace. The land recovers and adapts, absorbing new additions, covering old exposures.
These paintings explore this relationship of action and reaction. Construction materials are introduced, forcing the developing imagery to adapt. Preserved areas are exposed, revealing history underneath. Resolved areas are altered or scraped away. Panels are moved into new positions or into different paintings entirely. Spaces are abandoned, dissimilar areas adjoined, foreign elements absorbed or rejected.
The resulting compositions range from graceful adaptation to abrupt disturbance. Elements of ugliness and beauty, history and novelty, disruption and resolution reflect the information each of us absorbs as we move through our own surroundings. They invite us also to consider the cumulative history of our spaces which are constantly in flux.