Chris Curchin

Contact Information


Please contact artist for purchases, commissions, etc.


Archived Work

Faces / Figures

Artist's Biography

Chris Curchin studied film and animation in an experimental film program at Philadelphia College of Art, now University of the Arts earning a BFA in 1982. A self taught painter, he began painting in 1985, showed regularly and helped run the Highwire Co-operative through the 90’s and has exhibited work at the Allentown Art Museum, William Way Center , DCCC and The Philadelphia Art Alliance among others. He currently teaches art and music at a non-profit arts-based preschool in Philadelphia.

Artist's Statement

For many years I have worked both abstractly and figuratively, primarily in oil.

My Abstract paintings involve multiple layers of slow drying oil glazes with heavily marked and scratched surfaces: a kind of free form sgraffito. I use structural elements to emphasize the contrast between the aggressive movement of compulsive mark making, and the minimalist structure of the compositions.

Initially I began experimenting with abstraction after being enthralled by a Mondrian exhibition I saw in Washington, DC in 1995, which ignited in me a desire to better understand non-representation through my own exploration. Ideas and emotions arise in the process of finding, for me, a mysterious visual balance of non-space/non-form. The work is often minimal and active at once and the paintings have evolved over time in unexpected ways.

In my figurative paintings my focus is often on faces and eyes, decorated with dots of color. For me they express an allusion to mortality, matter and energy fields. I have found dot elements in decorative techniques used around the world in various forms. Mine developed out of restoration work on Moroccan painted furniture, but later evolved in connection with my experiences with meditation and Reiki.

Selected Exhibitions

Borders Center City, Philadelphia, PA

Portraits, Philadelphia Art Alliance Dining Room, Philadelphia, PA

Two - Person
Solid World and Other Paintings, Highwire Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
With Jeanne Nugent

The Art of Healing, The Samaritan Center, Vorhees, NJ

FigureFormGesture, Da Fonseca Contemporanea, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

215/620 Emerging Regional Artists, Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, Wilmington, DE
Juror: Donald Kuspit

Member Exhibition: InLiquid, PPAC, Second State, at Ice Box Project Space and Grey Area, Crane Arts Building, Philadelphia, PA

2nd Annual Juried Show, William Way, Philadelphia, PA
Juried Exhibition

29th Annual Juried Show, Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, PA
Juried Exhibition

A Sense of Place, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Boulder, CO
Juried Exhibition

Hanzpeak, Reiki School and Clinic, Philadelphia, PA

Annual Exhibition, Cheltenham Center for the Arts, Philadelphia, PA
Juried Exhibition

Borders Center City, Philadelphia, PA

4th Annual Exhibition, William Penn Charter School, Philadelphia, PA
Juried Exhibition
Jurors: Ivy Barsky and John Ollman

Candle Opera: Installation by candle light, Highwire Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Selective Vision, Highwire Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Curator: Jeanne Nugent

WaterIslandBridge, Multi-media installation and Outdoor Sculpture, Petty’s Island, Camden, NJ and Highwire Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

1992 - 1995
Highwire Collective Rotating Group Shows, Highwire Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Cathartic Fixations and Concrete Abstractions: 3 Artists, Highwire Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Professional Experience

2008 - present
Teacher/Manager, AKWD Preschool, Philadelphia, PA

1999 - 2008
Assistant Teacher, HMS School for Children With Cerebral Palsy

1978 - 1999
Various Restaurants and House Painting


Artists of Northern Liberties 2005 Calendar (January)
Juried publication

Theater Design

Set Design and Construction, "Gothic Tales," Greg Giovanni, Painted Bride Art Center, Philadelphia, PA

Set Design and Construction,"Napoleon Pullapart, Parts 5 & 5 1/2," Big Mess Theater, Painted Bride Art Center, Philadelphia, PA

Set Design, "Lucy: The Opera," Big Mess Theater, Painted Bride, Philadelphia, PA


University of the Arts(formerly Philadelphia College of Art), Philadelphia, PA
BFA, Film/Animation