Extraordinary Hoboken: Paintings by Bill Curran
April 9 - May 29, 2016
When most of us pass a flowerpot in full bloom on a stoop or a cat sunning lazily in a window, we might make a mental note of these moments of unexpected beauty, but they are soon forgotten, buried under a pile of errands and obligations. It takes a special eye to see these fleeting moments of pure color and light as inspiration for great art.
Artist Bill Curran has that kind of eye. He finds subjects for his lushly colorful paintings in his everyday walks through Hoboken, or views from his own window. The less “artfully” arranged the better. Taking a cue from his favorite painter, Fairfield Porter, Curran prefers to happen upon a scene worth painting, rather than intentionally arranging objects.
To explain his penchant for painting flowers, Hoboken stoops, cats, windows, boats and more, he cites a phrase that Porter used to describe the French painter Edouard Vuillard: “It seems to be ordinary, what [he’s] doing, but the extraordinary is everywhere.” When Curran sees something he likes, he will paint it quickly, en plein air, to capture the fleeting moment of pure color and light, sometimes making a sketch on site and finishing the canvas quickly back at his studio. “The feeling of adding lush paint to a rough canvas is incomparable,” he adds.
On Saturday, April 9, with an opening reception from 2 – 5 pm, the Museum is pleased to present Curran’s third Upper Gallery exhibit, “Extraordinary Hoboken,” comprising 64 small-format oil paintings of a stunning variety of subjects, painted between 1999 and 2016. Regular visitors to the Museum will know Curran as the unfailingly nice Museum Associate who greets guests and keeps operations humming at the Museum and the Fire Department Museum. On view through May 29, the paintings are as delightful as the artist!
Before coming to work for the Hoboken Museum, Curran was an illustrator and art director for 16 years at Lord & Taylor in New York. He also teaches private art lessons and classes at the Bayonne Jewish Community Center. His work has been widely exhibited at venues in New York and New Jersey, including Hoboken City Hall, Hoboken Library and even in the Empire State Building, which used to captivate him from his vantage point at Lord & Taylor, and continues to draw his eye from the Hoboken waterfront.
Curran honed his technique through years of study at The Art Institute in Fort Lauderdale, as well as New York’s School of Visual Arts, the Fashion Institute of Technology, Parsons School of Design and the Art Students League. But perhaps the most profound influence was an invitation to join Fairfield Porter’s niece, Anina Porter Fuller, and 12 other artists for a painting retreat at the family’s 100-year-old estate on Great Spruce Head Island, Maine, in 2013.
Originally born in Brooklyn, NY, and raised on Long Island, Curran has lived in Hoboken for thirty-two years. View more of his work online at billcurran.net.
The exhibit is supported by a block grant from the State/County Partnership program for the Arts, administered by the Hudson County Division of Cultural and Heritage Affairs.