Curtis Gander – Evoking the Common
Posted on December 1, 2017
Even before I pursued a career of architecture, my creative interests were cultivated at home. When other kids scribbled with crayons, my father taught me how to properly mix acrylics, sketch in charcoal, and experiment with watercolor techniques. Today it’s easy for me to attribute my design and artistic talents to my dad.
Curtis Gander can find inspiration in almost anything. He has a strongly developed eye for composition, and can transform a scene from mundane to evocative. Our shared hometown of Hutchinson, Minnesota is the source for many of his works. He draws inspiration from common scenes of familiar daily life.
Growing up, our walls at home were filled with original paintings. This instilled with me a value in art and craft. Familiar scenes and buildings carefully rendered in paint gave me an appreciation for ‘place.’
Hutchinson has many qualities of small town “Americana.” Historic brick buildings line Main Street with local shops and restaurants. A central town square is home to a lovely Carnegie library and restored art deco movie theater. Many of Curtis’ paintings successfully capture this downtown atmosphere.
I like to think that many of his paintings are love letters to this small Midwestern town where he grew up, raised a family, and currently resides. Written in the paint may be a memory of the past, or an authentic depiction of a present way of life. His paintings often evoke a sense of nostalgia for a quieter or simpler time.
Curtis has described his loose and representative style as “Painterly.” Over the years he has developed his hand in oils, and his mastery of skill is evident. Effortlessly, he uses light and color to structure a composition. Brush strokes are economized, giving an impressionistic, yet structured aesthetic.
While some of Curtis’ pieces are born in his studio, he is also well known for his plein-air paintings of Midwestern urban and rural scenes. Even while working on site with ever-changing lighting conditions and unknown variables, his gestural impressions are still grounded in reality and able to convey poetry and meaning. None of his works are literal translations, yet there is a certain truthfulness and reality to his representations.
The Hutchinson Center for the Arts will be exhibiting a selection of Curtis’ work “Hutchinson Perspective II” during December with a gallery reception on the 14th. More information can be found on their website.