Christopher Curtis

Christopher Curtis Gnomon II final
Gnomon II, 2014
slate, granite, stainless steel, gold
7 ft. 8 in. x 2 ft. 6 in. x 2 ft. 6 in.
Christopher Curtis Where Why Where 1
Where Do We Come From? Why Are We Here? Where Are We Going?, 2018
quartzite, granite, stainless steel
8 ft. 4 in. x 4 ft. 6 in. x 3 ft.

Artist Statement

I am interested in the peculiar intersection of the past and the future.  Cross-cultural and time independent archetypes are the universal symbols that capture and express this phenomenon in the present.  My work is about expressing these eternal truths in physical form.

In my work with stone, I begin not with quarried blocks but with raw stones as they are found in nature.  Each one, with its time-honed patina, tells a story of a very long personal past.  They pass through the present very quickly and, with altered identities, continue their journeys into an unimaginably long future. For example, “Message from the Future” is made from Cheshire Quartzite, a very hard and durable stone formed some 540 million years ago.  It became a standing stone, following in the longest tradition of megalithic sculpture.  Pierced by a single four-foot, polished, round void, the sculpture exploits the circle, perhaps the oldest and most prevalent of archetypes.  It is easy to imagine some distant future culture relating to the iconic shape of this ancient artifact.

My sculptures in metal address similar concepts in a different material. The quest for imitable shapes from the past to translate to the future remains unchanged. Using stainless steel or bronze, two permanent materials, I seek forms that resonate with beauty and emotion. My sculptures, born from the quintessential forms of the past, speak their universal language to us in the present and will carry these uniquely human feelings into the distant future.

About the Artist

Christopher Curtis was born in Stowe, Vermont, in 1951. At the University of Vermont, he cut his first stone under the instruction of Paul Aschenbach. He’s been sculpting stone ever since.

Curtis’ current work is primarily in stone, although the artist often incorporates sculptural welded stainless steel or bronze. This work earned him a Vermont Community Foundation Grant in 2008. He continues to navigate the liminal space between science and art, using industrial tools for artistic means.

Though Curtis’ work employs current technology, his abiding fascination is with raw stone. He sees in each stone both its ancient history and its unique shape. For Curtis, stones are objects, not just material. That makes the discovery, selection and recovery of the stone an important and enjoyable part of his work. Curtis has studied the geologic history of his native Vermont, following the ancient lines of glaciers and inland seas to find stones whose stories resonate with the sculptures they become.

Curtis continues to make sculpture for private collectors, commercial projects, memorials and public works from his Stowe, Vermont studios.