"What the really great artists do is they're entirely themselves. They're entirely themselves, they've got their own vision, they have their own way of fracturing reality, and if it's authentic and true, you will feel it in your nerve endings."
David Foster Wallace
In celebration of mixed media artist Tom Paiement's 20th year with Greenhut, our September exhibition will be an electrifying retrospective showcasing Paiement's unique vision and his bold, highly authentic, and fiercely imaginative reactions to the "visual beauty and form" that he perceives all around us.
To maximize the impact of the artist's far-reaching scope and methodology, this show will feature 80-plus discrete pieces of art (media include paint, metals, collage, LED lights, more) assembled into a series of high energy, high density -- some nearly floor-to-ceiling -- installations. As Wallace says, "You will feel it in your nerve endings."
In assembling these installations, which Paiement imagines as "private dialogues in a public setting," Tom chose artwork representing the various and diverse periods of exploration over the past 20 years of his career. His periodic fascinations have included the following (and more): abstract geometrics; fretboards (inspired by a dream after a visit to the legendary McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, which drove him to capture "the tactile element of music" representing "not just sound," but "waves coming at you"); flowers springing up in the aftermath of war, seen as symbols of the fragility of life and, as traditionally, in memoriam, but also as harbingers of hope and reminders of Nature's indomitable tendency toward proliferation; and a visual and sometimes anthropological exploration of Venice Beach and the "tribes" that inhabit it. In some periods, Paiement's artistic statements are more directly political and incisive, bearing a sharper edge. Not surprisingly, given Paiement's past life as a mechanical engineer, scientific and philosophical quandaries are also vibrantly present in his body of work.
Paiement's artwork is not only imaginative and skillfully rendered, but also intellectual. Of his 1999 exploration of geometric forms, Ken Greenleaf commented: "These familiar forms are a net above which the artist balances on a wire...His works imply that what we see as familiar and reassuringly solid is only one part of the puzzle of existence." Likewise, Paiement's stunning, ambitious, and visionary large-scale 2008 multimedia collage trilogy, Entropy Parts 1, 2 & 3 (a meditation on the state of 21st century man and speaking of "death and birth, poverty and wealth, evil and innocence") was characterized by Portland Museum of Art curator Susan Danly as "one of the most important pieces of contemporary art to come out of Maine in recent years." Tom's newest work continues his dialogue with the visible and invisible world around us. Made in contemplation of the verbal and psychic turmoil of our current moment in history, it is heavily concerned with both the quality and tone of our national discourse.
"What can I say about my radical changes over the last 20 years? What do I need to say about my radical changes over the last 20 years? I'm a curious person. I see visual beauty and form everywhere. I react to the world and use those reactions to power my work." ~ Tom Paiement
Tom Paiement received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maine and worked in the aerospace industry before deciding that the creative process could offer him an aesthetic outlet that was missing in his mathematical and scientific work. After earning his M.F.A. in Printmaking at the University of Iowa in 1985, under the tutelage of Mauricio Lasansky, and subsequently teaching at Hamline University in St. Paul, Tom returned to Maine to paint full time. In the last 30 years, Paiement has exhibited extensively and his worked is owned by private and public collections alike.