Aaron Curry is one of those exceptional artists who has stayed true to his own unique style while taking his career and work to the next level. So, how did the soft-spoken Texas kid grow up to become an internationally acclaimed art star?
Mid career artists are often confronted with the creative challenge of maintaining their own unique style while exploring new ideas and concepts to take their career to the next level. At 41, Aaron Curry is an artist who finds himself in the middle of this period. Contrary to some of his contemporaries, he’s defying expectations by continually building on his early success - by showing impressive consistency and exploring new materials and mediums within his distinctive style rather than trying to reinvent himself and his art. Curry’s outdoor exhibition in New York’s Lincoln Center plaza late last year gave the artist well-deserved public exposure that could potentially be viewed as a breakthrough moment. The 14 piece show featured Curry’s trademark brightly colored abstract figurative sculptures.
So how did the soft-spoken Texas kid grow up to become an internationally acclaimed art star? Born in 1972 in San Antonio to a teenage mother, he was the middle of three children; his father, a carpenter, abandoned the family when Curry was just five years old. The artist admits that growing up he had little interest in art, preferring cartoons, Star Trek and 80’s metal music - until a high school trip to see Picasso’s late paintings changed everything. Curry resolved to pursue an artistic career when a friend, now his wife, encouraged him to apply to art school after seeing his portfolio of drawings. He enrolled at the Art Institute of Chicago where he earned his BFA in 2002 and was awarded his MFA from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA three years later.
Curry began his career as a painter, but it was not until he started increasingly working with sculpture that he began to attract attention. His large-scale sculptures made from wood, cardboard or aluminum seek to blur the lines between two dimensions and three dimensions. The use of monochromatic, artificial color reinforces this concept by blending the forms into each other, flattening the surface even further. The resulting construction represents a thrilling play upon the human perception of perspective, an amalgamation of Curry’s artistic role model Pablo Picasso and Alexander Calder, or a contemporary Joan Miró.
Curry was signed by the David Kordansky Gallery and received his first solo show in 2006. The following year he was signed by the Michael Werner Gallery, earning his first major international solo exhibition in London. Since then he’s gone from strength to strength, with museum shows at LA’s Hammer Museum and abroad in Berlin at the Schinkel Pavilion cementing his position in the contemporary art market.
With increasing success, Curry developed his distinctive style by exploring different mediums, morphing between sculpture and painting, sustaining the dialogue between two and three dimensions. Curry’s collages have also increased in popularity - it can be described as cardboard attached to paint-covered paper, with the frame often covered in the same color as the artwork itself, creating a pleasant confusion as to where the frame ends and the artwork begins.
Curry’s dexterity and subtlety, coupled with the intelligent art historical references and extensive breadth of his oeuvre make him deserving of the attention that he’s been receiving. It will be interesting to see how his career continues to progress and whether or not he can manage to take his work and his career to the next level. Curry definitely has the quality to achieve great things. Unfortunately, in today’s unpredictable art market, great quality doesn’t always determine a great legacy.