Philip Campbell CurtisThe Unveiling, 1979Oil on panelGift of the Philip C. Curtis Trust
Selected by Chris Weir, Senior Marketing Specialist
Referred to by some as the “René Magritte of the Old West,” Arizona transplant Philip Campbell Curtis wanted his imagery to be puzzling. Like Magritte, Curtis ventured into the surreal and challenged viewers’ perceptions. Once, when asked whether people in his painting of an elevator were going up or down, he replied, ‘How the hell should I know? For all I know, they could be stuck.’
The Unveiling certainly matches the puzzler profile. I love the absurdity of the enormous sculpture, with a base that promises classical grandeur, situated in an absolutely desolate landscape. The emotions it elicits are similarly paradoxical—anticipation for the big reveal and disappointment over the absence of anyone to witness it. The wind in the hair of the young woman holding the rope suggests to me that she’s undeterred by the lack of audience.
While I’m dying to see the sculpture, the anticlimax keeps me rapt. It also makes me wonder whether Curtis himself knew what was under that sheet…
Jackson College will be exhibiting the artwork of Philip C Curtis for the months of February and March.
It’s an artistic extravaganza! The JSO presents works inspired by the visual arts including Pictures at an Exhibition. You won’t want to miss violinist Ida Kavafian performing Michael Daugherty’s violin concerto Fire and Blood inspired by Detroit murals by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. The JSO welcomes back Jeremy Crosmer for a world premiere inspired by the work of Jackson-born artist Philip Campbell Curtis. We’re also excited to partner with Jackson-born speed painter, Evan Struck, during this performance as he paints a piece alongside the orchestra!