Galerie Verdun, Fine Art Gallery
Galerie Verdun, Fine Art Gallery
 
Art is the only means by which one soul can truly touch another.
  
 
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Curtis Verdun, Art by Abstraction

Curtis Verdun in his studio

Excalibur, Abstract Oil Painting by Curtis Verdun

The Dance of Good and Evil, Abstract Oil Painting by Curtis Verdun

Artist Biography

Curtis Verdun is an abstract and portrait artist working out of his studio on Bayou Lafourche in South Louisiana. This areas rich culture and unique landscape has inspired the artist's work over the last 4 decades. One of the fondest memories during the artist's early life, Verdun recalls Christmas of '74. He was 12 years old then and one of the gifts his parents had given him was a Grumbacher oil painting set. Up to that point he had always been drawing and painting with whatever materials were available. This gift strengthened his desire to paint and he soon developed the uncanny ability to paint likenesses of people and at 13 he completed his first oil portrait commission. Oil portraits became his mainstay for many years. Commission clients since then have included universities, churches and other businesses as well as individual collectors of fine art.

Curtis Verdun is a self-taught artist, except for a one-week portrait workshop with Daniel Green in 1987. He feels that throughout his career he has learned much from reading about the great masters, both in technique and aesthetics. (Some of his favorite painters are the Abstract Expressionists.) To accelerate his learning, he has also copied their works, experimented with their various painting techniques and methods and prepared painting mediums by their recipes. He now even grinds some of his oil paints himself and also builds and prepares many of his own canvases.

When asked about where he learned to paint, he responds, "My subjects teach me."

"Many will say that nudes and figure studies are the best subjects an artist can learn from. Maybe so, but when placed before an easel to create a portrait, an artist is faced with a unique challenge.

Jaime - Pencil Portrait by Curtis Verdun
"Jaime" - pencil portrait by Curtis Verdun

Not only does he have to render form as he would for any other subject, now he does not have the unrestricted "artistic license" to reconstruct an image in any way he likes. Every portion of that form needs to be modeled within a rather narrow latitude in order to gain a convincing likeness. It's much less forgiving than figure studies."

Verdun realizes that much of his artistic talents can be attributed to the intensive training he has received while painting numerous portraits over the years.

His work is respected in his community and he has done several lectures and workshops in the area. In 1990, he was commissioned to produce an oil painting for the cover of the local telephone directory, which was also published as a limited edition print.

In 2002, Verdun began broadening his subject matter and genre and is now producing more abstract paintings and non-figurative works in addition to traditional portraits. He has found himself at home in this new realm and was surprised to find substantial demand for his new abstract art, both locally and abroad.

Through abstract and non-figurative painting Verdun feels he has a newfound opportunity for greater creativity and artistic expression.

Verdun was born a Native American Indian of the Biloxi-Chitimachas. He feels that his heritage has had a strong influence on his work and his outlook on life. The South Louisiana area where he lives has such wonderfully diverse people, a rich culture and breathtaking landscapes - all very influential to his work as a Louisiana artist.

Artist Statement

Without the power of artistic expression, we would just do and say things as plain as computers or "androids". Nothing colorful would ever be expressed. Without art there would be no jokes, no music. Dancing would make no sense and everything we do and everything we have would be for utility only. BUT...the ability to create, perform, comprehend and appreciate art...that makes everything different! Art heightens our life experience; it offers a spiritual insight to all that we are. With artistic ability, ideas and emotions can really be expressed. We can really communicate - not merely words and facts, but thoughts, ideas and feelings. In fact, "art is the only means by which one soul can truly touch another".

"Drama of tone" is what Verdun endeavors in his work, abstract and figurative. He feels that tone is the most basic component of an image and that everything else, including color, is dependent on it. He aims to move and awaken the viewer by his images. "The spectator should not simply see my work, they should feel it. If he feels nothing, I have failed."

Over the past few years, Verdun has found himself using the painting knife more and more for his abstract paintings. Currently, for most of his recent works, he uses only painting knives and no brushes. This method provides the look he wants to achieve in his abstracts. The painting knife provides the crisp texture found in many areas of Verdun's work and yet it also allows for surprisingly smooth passages when desired. It is this "rhythm of texture" that has become his signature.

Verdun longs to be able to reproduce the "full grandeur" of the images that his imagination conjures up. That's what draws him to abstract and non-figurative art. It is not some "alternative to realism" as some might consider; as though it was a choice based on taste. It is rather a matter of what the artist wants to say and how he can say it best. Abstract painting affords the artist the freedom to present his ideas without being tethered by what we visually see.

"It is only by the complete detachment from visible reality that an artist can directly communicate to others the very essence of the message to be conveyed. It is a pure and unobstructed path from soul to soul." 

Curtis Verdun

 


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