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In an ageing art world, young artists constantly feel the need to renew the incredibly vast panorama of authentic images they are subject to, using past greatness to achieve present emancipation and, to predict our near future. Fine minds like the one embodied by Henry Curchod, consistently give proof of courage and ripeness, engaging into an impervious adventure within our society’s archetypal and symbolic past.

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Born in Palo Alto, USA, in 1992, Iranian – Australian artist Henry Curchod has been focusing his research on the theme of nostalgia, seduced and intrigued by the feeling of uncertain familiarity that one experiences in front of a powerful symbolic image. Borrowing his compositions from myths and archetypal symbology, Curchod creates complex narratives that respond to our contemporary society’s need to return to an idealised and forgotten past, giving key importance to the intervention of memory into one’s reminiscence of his own experience. 


Henry Curchod, Fish Whisperers, 2019. Oil and synthetic polymer on canvas.


In Curchod’s paintings, a highly emotive palette combined with the enhancement of every single brushstroke, gives birth to images of incredible expressive potential, which allow the observer to relate his own feeling of familiarity and nostalgia to the narrative that the artist puts before him. When looking at Henry Curchod’s paintings, one experiences both connection and misplacement, both a feeling of understanding and confusion, trapped and intrigued by the ambiguous narratives that intertwine on the canvas’ surface. The viewer experiences the power of every brushstroke, which is given importance for its individual meaning, but also for its placement within the composition. Captured by the variety of powerful brushstrokes and by the active role play that is enacted by elements of protagonism and antagonism, the observer finds himself in a moment of deep questioning, in which a feeling of familiarity leaves space to moments of uncertainty and confusion. 


Henry Curchod, Setting the Table, 2019. Oil and synthetic polymer on canvas.


“It is important to be conscious of every single brushstroke. Every gesture or stroke should be scrutinised and questioned. Paint's application should not be too cavalier, as people are looking for meaning in the stroke”.

Looking deeper into Henry Curchod’s process, we will discover the importance that is given to drawing as a key element that allows the artist’s creative potential to break free. Curchod explains how his painterly scheme can be compared to baking, both in its preparation and in its development into “batches” of paintings. Initially, the artist spends a period of time drawing on blank paper, trying to distance himself from any referential reminiscence, in order to achieve a more personal composition. These series of ideas are then “fleshed out” or collaged into a variety of images which stand as primary conceptions of future paintings to be. Finally, the artist begins to slowly build with paint, creating layers of pure narrative expressiveness, in which oil paint is used in all of its potential and allows the artist to achieve an image that ultimately stands as a thing of its own. 


Henry Curchod, If a Tree Falls in a Forest, 2019. Oil and synthetic polymer on canvas.


In forward-looking times, young and talented minds like the one embodied by Herny Curchod, understand the importance that our archetypal past has in the planning of our future. It may be said, that images made of genuine beauty and acceptance of our dialectical present, stand nowadays as prophetical assumptions for future aesthetics to be.


Henry Curchod, Circle Work, 2018. Oil and synthetic polymer on canvas.


Cover image: Henry Curchod, Tell me of the birds you know, 2019. Oil and synthetic polymer on canvas.

Wrtiten by Mario Rodolfo Silva

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