When I first saw Alfred Currier’s oil paintings, I was shocked. . . but in a good way. Why? Because Alfred simplifies (and intensifies) his subjects to the point that you just can’t pull away.
While attending the Palette and Chisel Academy of Fine Art in Chicago, Alfred developed a love for painting people. He moved to the Pacific Northwest in 1991 and began visited the fields of the Skagit Valley, where he started painting fields and farm workers.
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Alfred will generally sketch his subjects en plein air while sitting on top of a flipped-over five-gallon bucket, then return to his studio to paint. He doesn’t simply copy what he sees, but labors over his unique representation of the scene. As he puts it, “truth is more feeling than fact.”
Strong texture and some of the boldest color I’ve seen (in realistic work) is just part of the “feeling” that Alfred adds to his paintings.
As you can see, since being literal isn’t that important to him, Alfred’s colors can truly “pop!” with vibrant intensity.
In the painting below, he’s made the worker the focal point, and then layered rows and rows of brightly colored vegetables all around him.
The simplicity of his forms are amazing, yet there are many textural details to hold our attention as well.
Of course, with all of that visual information, it would be easy to focus just on texture and color, and miss the story. . . but that would be a mistake.
Alfred takes great care to include the subtlety of human lives in his paintings. He captures regional history and celebrates a beautiful part of agriculture: the cultivation of land by human hands.
For example, in the painting below, Alfred uses the landscape to frame a conversation. The field is red, powerful, bold. . . but calm, too. So calm, that even in a painting full of intense color it’s the quiet interaction between workers that becomes its focal point.