Tom Birkner

(b. 1966)

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Tom Birkner’s paintings are compelling images of a world that is everywhere and nowhere, the world of the American rust belt, of dying mining towns, and of the people that inhabit them. This is subject matter rarely dealt with in art today, and is presented without the nostalgia or sentimentality that might be expected. These paintings are cool observations of somewhat unsettling situations and locales where that which sociologists call anomie reigns. Peopled with alienated adolescents either aimlessly standing around before decaying building facades or furtively seeking cheap thrills in abandoned factories, these paintings bring to mind the dystopian visions of David Lynch films, the movie “River’s Edge”, and the stories of Raymond Carver, which have shown us the continental drift of a downwardly mobile sub-class inhabiting a good many places between the coasts of an almost invisible America.