Tom Birkner: Trace

Aug 9 - Sep 21, 2019

Santa Fe

For more Information:

Press Release


Following a trail of remote and overlooked locales, Trace continues Tom Birkner’s painted domain of roadside America. In scenes that are everywhere and nowhere, on the highway, and off the grid, Birkner’s paintings are of moments lost in the flow of driving and passing through on the way to somewhere else.

Harboring a sense of mystery and suspense, Birkner’s work of civilization's edges leaves the viewer in a space both familiar and remote. Motel parking lots, freight trains streaming through a darkening desert landscape, the approach to a gate of a remote ranch, all have a subtle resonance of places outside the main stream of contemporary life.

Building his canvases through the application of numerous layers of paint, Birkner aggressively applies and scrapes away paint until the cinematic scene is as the feelings it conjures - both realistic and abstract. "They’re truthful representations of our world, yet they are also about that world and paint finding a mutual balance that brings life to still pictures."

Birkner whose work has been exhibited internationally, recently concluded a solo exhibition at the El Paso Museum of Art, El Paso, TX. This is the artist's first solo exhibition with the gallery and will include more than a dozen new works.


Artist Information


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.