Features/Reviews

Taking a Stand

Karen Schafer
Silver Spring, MD, May 6, 2009
Gazette Newspapers

[Tom Block] isn't just any old painter hauling his easel out to capture another glorious Potomac River sunset. Rather, he insists on making art that has social relevance.... His expressionist style — think Willem de Kooning and Francis Bacon — gives a raw intensity to his subjects. And while Block has become known for his public art murals in Takoma Park, his Human Rights Painting Project portrait series gets the most buzz. Seventeen portraits of human-rights victims, along with each subject's individual story, are on view through July 22 at the Visions Exhibition Space in the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center.

Silver Spring artist crafts portraits of courage

Jeremy Arias
Silver Spring, MD, April 29, 2009
Gazette Newspapers

A dazzling array of colors sprang out from the canvasses lining the walls of the Pyramid Atlantic Arts Center in downtown Silver Spring on Saturday evening. Bright, vibrant reds and oranges mingled to create deeply textured, haunting portraits of human rights activists from all over the world.

Exhibit explores spiritual journeys

GA, April 8, 2009
Sufism World Report

...Block's work, which, at these dimensions, becomes a kind of wall itself, fills the viewer's visual field with what at first may appear to be a chaotic jumble of brightly colored graffiti-like marks. In fact, it is a very carefully orchestrated series of images echoing the allegorical quest of 30 birds in the spiritual epic of the same name written by the Persian Sufi poet Farid ud-Din Attar in 1177....

Block’s Response Still Relevant in Today’s Politics

State College, PA, October 3, 2008
Centre Daily Times

..."The Machiavellian attitude toward politics is a politics of power, where the end goal is just the accrual of power," Block said. "But there are other manners of having democracy, and a lot of these paintings are based in the sayings of social thinkers who tried to look at the accrual of power as a means, the end being the betterment of society."...

No measly easels for big ideas

Frederick, MD, May 15, 2008
Frederick News-Post

"Into the Singularity" is the first of three pieces that explores the idea of this new spirituality. The painting represents Block's meditation on the mistake of classical mysticism, a flawed system, he thinks, because of its lack of community involvement....

Into the Realm of Social Impact

Fayetteville, AR, April 10, 2008
Fayetteville Morning News

In 2002, Maryland artist Tom Block set out to "take my art out of the gallery and into the realm of real social impact." His Human Rights Painting Project has been exhibited 25 times in the ensuing six years, and 24 of the portraits - which he says "capture the range of emotions experienced in this battle" - will be on show beginning Monday at the Anne Kittrell Gallery on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville.

Manhattan Magazine

New York, NY, Spring 2008
Manhattan Magazine

The 27 colorful, richly textured canvases of artist Tom Block's series Human Rights Painting Project sent a strong and timely message to the Jasper community at an opening reception in February....

Artist uses skills to call attention to human rights

Madison, IN, January 12, 2008
Madison Courier

Tom Block, whose vibrant, but sometimes disturbing paintings which illustrate the struggle for human rights, considers himself an activist first. An artist, second.

The Levantine Option

New York, NY, July 23, 2008
Sephardic Heritage News

Given the antipathy in many unenlightened quarters to the idea of 'The Levantine Option' - that Jews and Muslims shared a common culture over many centuries in the Middle East, and it is this culture that will act as the salve through which the two peoples will be able to reconcile - it is of the utmost significance to find anyone who will support the matter publicly....

Gazette Newspapers

Silver Spring, MD, August 1, 2007
A Voting Arts "Block" to Highlight Human Rights

When local artist Tom Block was commissioned in June to install a public art piece along the entrance wall to the Kennett Street parking lot, he wanted to bring back the "public" into public art....

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