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Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. Simonides

Curtis Bartone

Curtis Bartone


My paintings, drawings, and etchings focus on the uneasy relationship between human beings and the natural world, exploring the idea of wilderness and how it has changed from being a real place–mysterious, unknown, and pristine–to a distorted fiction. Throughout history we have striven to conquer and exploit “wild-ness” for our benefit. Simultaneously we have used art to manipulate, translate, analyze, reconfigure, and tame nature. My current pieces fuse Italian Renaissance painting, 17th-century Dutch still life, 19th-century scientific illustration with a twenty-first century aesthetic informed by photography and mass media to explore and to question our attempts to tame, control, and consume our surroundings. Painting and drawing, filtered through art history and mass media, still have the potential to make sense of seemingly disparate elements, revealing connections, beauty, and order in apparent disharmony.


I was born on February 2, 1965 in an apartment in Erie, Pennsylvania–a small industrial great lakes city in the northwest of the state. When I was 11, my family moved to a farm in the surrounding hilly countryside, where I spent many hours drawing cartoons and exploring the surrounding woodlands learning about birds and animals. After graduating from high school, I moved to Columbus, Ohio to attend the Columbus College of Art and Design, where I received a BFA in painting in 1988. After taking a year off, I received a teaching assistantship from Northwestern University and moved to Chicago. I received an MFA in painting in 1991. I lived in Chicago until 2001. It is in this wonderful city that I established myself as an artist–balancing numerous adjunct teaching jobs with my own studio work. In 1995, I took my first trip out of the country, to Italy, and developed an addiction to international travel and learning languages. Since then, I have taken several trips to Iceland and Italy as well trips to Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Zambia, and New Zealand. In 2001, I moved to Savannah, Georgia to be closer to semi-wild areas and to teach full-time at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). I resigned from SCAD in 2006 to devote myself to my studio work, but decided that Savannah was still a good place for me to live and to make art. The landscape and wildlife of the Lowcountry contrasted by the rampant development/destruction of marshes and woodlands has become integral to my work. My work is represented by Byron Roche Gallery and Printworks Gallery–both in Chicago, Illinois.

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