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Kevin Tolman
Nuart Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Recommendation by Amanda Malloy

Kevin Tolman, “The Navigator,” acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 72 x 96”

Continuing through August 4, 2019

Like so many New Mexico artists, Kevin Tolman’s abstract paintings are influenced by the Southwestern landscape. However, a recent trip to Portugal left a strong impression on his current body of work. This influence is evident in the bright, aquamarine blues in works like “Song of Summer (Alentejo)” (Alentejo is a region of Portugal), and rocky oranges like those found in “Navegador Vermelho.” Orchestrating a combination of acrylic paint and mixed media materials, Tolman creates texturally rich paintings. The work is described as “poetic glimpses into real places, as well as abstract ‘places’ in their own rights.” By incorporating old stamps and pieces of patterned paper, all obscured by paint, Tolman’s paintings act as abstract representations of rich layers of history.

Tolman builds the details on an armature of vivid colors that result is aesthetically cohesive finished works. “The Navigator” is a prime example of how he uses different shades and shapes to create new forms that mimic geological formations or shifting bodies of water. Works like “Fuente Equinox,” or “Tableau/Morning” are less grounded, but still imbue a sense of a more liminal place, like a sky shifting through fog, or a glimpse under the surface of the sea. Many of the shapes Tolman incorporates hint at familiar objects, encouraging us to connect to the paintings as representing a place. And while that place may be inspired by actual locations, Tolman interprets them as an atmosphere rather than a physical locality, a shifting memory rather than a literal history.

Nuart Gallery

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