Silver Spring Artist puts Human Face on Suffering

Montgomery County, MD, April 3, 2002
Gazette Newspapers

"I didn't pick up the brushes until I was 26," (Tom Block) says, laughing softly at the thought. "I had no art background. When I called my father to say that I was going to art school, he said, 'Holy mackerel, you couldn't even draw a stick figure when you were a kid!'"

Suffice to say that Block the elder got over his initial disbelief, and that Block the younger proved himself adept with the paints and brushes. More than adept, he became an award winning young artist whose work has been displayed in galleries around the country and the world.

Human Rights Painting Project Catalogue

New York City, 2002

Tom Block wears several painterly hats at once; he's equally at home creating abstract paintings and expressionistic figurative portraits. In Caceres, Spain, where he lived during the mid-90s, he painted colorful abstractions on cast-off wooden slats that were spontaneous explosions of joy. A few years later, now living in a basement apartment in Gaithersburg, Maryland, he began a series of expressionistic portraits of friends and family.

Spiritual Abstractions

Detroit, December 14, 2001
Detroit Jewish News

Tom Block worships in a Conservative synagogue, but he paints Hasidic messages.  Inspired by the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov, the artist uses recurring abstract forms to celebrate the joy of mystical prayer.  He also fills some canvases to capture similar devotional intent expressed by historic Christian and Islamic mystics.

Maryland Art Place Critic's Residency

Baltimore, MD, Summer 2001
Link 6

"Maryland Art Place Critic's Residency"

The Tales We Tell: The Work of Tom Block

Baltimore, MD, Summer 2001
Link 6

"With the

Baal Shem Tov

series, Block renders spiritual legends in a vine-like weave of tangled characters and impressions. To create these images, a painted canvas is scraped and pressed with small painted swaths of paper. The process, which Block calls printing, produces two works: one, the large, densely painted scenes of flat patterns and the other, small but seemingly expansive landscaped scenes.

An Artist's Enigmatic "Friends"

Washington DC, February 8, 1997
Washington Times

Even if printed in black and white, Tom Block's oils brightly convey a mixture of jarring emotions. 

"These are images culled from everyday life and then taken out of context," the Gaithersburg resident says. "They become sort of mysterious and hopefully illogical moments all of us have had happen to us every day, in a bar or at a family dinner." Taken out of context, with these mysterious kinds of images, one might discern something slightly disturbing as well," he says.

Young Artists Group Show

Madrid, Spain, September 29, 1995
Diario ABC

Creation converts itself into a mysterious act, with a hidden meaning. And in these works we find all the ingredients that belong to the world of mystery. Tom Block achieves this by breaking the known form of the painting support, choosing instead to work on known objects rendered 'impossible.' Ultimately, Block's work tells us that the totality of the mundane objects that surround us are not in any way mundane, but are passages to a conversation with the eternal.

The Purpose of Painting is to Reflect the Spiritual, the Ineffable

Caceres, Spain, November 17, 1993
Diario Hoy

Halfway through this past June, Tom Block decided that the moment had arrived to settle the doubt in his private creative challenge and put on a solo exhibition for the first time, here in Caceres. This was in the public library, showing a collection of medium sized paintings using a variety of techniques that created an original voice, radical within the stagnant artistic panorama.

Syndicate content