Timothy Curtis

Timothy Curtis

Inkblots and Feelings Charts

January 25, 2024 – May 19, 2024

The nuances of feelings and emotions and their associated internal complexities are the crux of the ongoing series of Inkblots and Feelings Charts by artist Timothy Curtis. Since the early 2000’s, Curtis has immersed himself in the gray areas, subtleties, and challenges that define our individual emotional intelligence. Examining elements such as body language, the way we engage with one another in personal and professional encounters, and how we overtly carry our stresses, Curtis’s art underscores the pervasive influence of emotions and feelings that guide us through our days and shape our interactions.

Curtis’s Feelings Charts seek to illustrate and compile a library of recognizable facial expressions that are associated with feelings that we routinely internalize. Traditionally feelings charts are used as visual tools in educational settings, therapy, and counseling sessions, and are designed to help individuals identify, understand, and communicate their complex emotions while promoting emotional intelligence and self-awareness. Curtis has taken his unique style of gestural and frenetic line work to create a marvelous and lively range of facial expressions that depict basic emotions like happiness, sadness, anger and fear, to more complex and nuanced feelings like anxiety, disgust, excitement, guilt, and calmness. As each face is accompanied by a corresponding adjective, Curtis seeks to create a dictionary of sorts for complex thoughts and internal emotional understanding.

Curtis’s approach in the more abstract and nuanced inkblot paintings entrusts them to chance while relying on his gestural muscle memory. The fundamentally ambiguous nature of inkblots has proven to be a stable point of departure for Curtis to capture the complexity of human emotions and perceptions. The symmetrical and mirrored abstracts encourage viewers to consider the balance within their own emotions and contemplate how their personal experiences connect them to each artwork on an individual level. This participatory aspect elevates Curtis’ Inkblot paintings beyond mere visual stimuli and turns them into dynamic and interactive maps for psychological exploration.

Curtis’s fusion of art, self-awareness, and behaviorism in both his Inkblot and Feelings Chart paintings exemplifies his enduring quest to unravel the complexities of emotional wellbeing. As he’s continued to create these bodies of work over the last two decades, he has not only been able to build on his own self-awareness, but also continue his deeper dives into self-reflection and coping through his own life’s ups and downs. By embracing ambiguity within the Inkblots and the levity and playfulness within the Feelings Charts, Curtis magnificently creates visual experiences that transcend the canvas. He invites viewers to join him on his decade’s long journey of self-study and prompts them to take their own explorations of personal narratives, internalized emotions, and our collective understanding of one another.

Read more about the exhibition in Deep in Our Feels, the essay by Aaron Levi Garvey.


Timothy Curtis
  • Timothy Curtis [b. 1982] is a self-taught artist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who works in New York City.

Since establishing a focused studio practice in 2015, Curtis had his first solo exhibition in November 2017 at Kaikai Kiki’s Hidari Zingaro gallery in Tokyo, Japan, curated by Takashi Murakami. His work was debuted publicly in the U.S. at the Brooklyn Museum as part of the group exhibition Coney Island Is Still Dreamland (To a Seagull) by the artist Stephen Powers (November 2015-2016).

Curtis had his first solo show in New York City with Albertz Benda Gallery and was featured in the group exhibition The Pencil is a Key: Drawings by Incarcerated Artists, The Drawing Center, New York City in 2019.

Recent shows include Negotiating Grids, at The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA), Philadelphia, Pa. 2022. Self Watering Flowers, at Almine Rech Paris, France 2023 and also included in The Echo of Picasso at Museo Picasso Málaga 2023-24 as well as the New York City Exhibition The Echo of Picasso, Almine Rech, New York City 2023.


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