In the course of his career, Tom Paiement continues to explore innovative approaches to his work. He allows himself the freedom to experiment with techniques and materials so no one style, or artistic tool defines his body of work. Certain major themes however, have underscored Paiement's work. They are themes that he returns to and uses to move forward in his work. Paramount to this work, is to determine what to use, and how, in order to manifest his ideas as he pushes towards a visual narrative that satisfies him.
"Up a three-story fire escape in historic Bath, Maine, artist Tom Paiement revives debris into collages that address some of the most elusive topics concerning human life. Beneath the call of seagulls and otherwise coastal silence, he creates a garden of prospect based on what the world has lost." Art New England, June / July 2010
From approximately 1990 to 2005, Paiement experimented with geometric forms: triangles, squares, rectangles, etc. He would let the piece evolve freely with intuitive marks, sweeps of color and the introduction of collage. There were many states to most of these with much scratching out, sanding, and layering. At times, Paiement would sand tpentire piece down and use the residual marks as a starting point. The surface quality with most of these is very layered. They want to be touched. Paiement did a great many of these paintings. Many are lost and many were undocumented.
Paiement states ,"These paintings were inspired by a vision/dream experienced after hearing a guitarist play scales at McCabes guitar shop in California in late December of 2003. The initial intent was simply an exercise in developing a visual interpretation of scales that could aid in learning them. As the first piece developed, new ideas emerged. I would work on 3 or 4 pieces simultaneously and slowly the pieces became metaphors for the notes rather than a representation of musical accuracy. I wanted to make the music resonate visually. The icons of the guitar - the frets, wires, technical layout and mathematical relationships of the notes create the structure for the paintings."
Paiement continues with his love of figurative work from simple still lifes and landscapes to his ongoing portrait series. Here is where his long involvement with printmaking influences his work. He states," The printed marks from a deeply etched copper plate are like no other. They are unique to the medium. They are very seductive in their surface quality (i.e. texture/patina). In all of my figurative work on paper and board, my attempt is to find the crossover marks that will have a similar surface quality. One looks for depth within the mark."
These paintings address the deep mysteries of our world right now and perhaps eternally. They are an attempt to represent visually our journeys from brutal savagery through the chaos of the megalopolis into the divine simplicity/ complexity of rebirth. And that despite this violent, maybe manipulative cosmology, our struggles with our inability to comprehend must ultimately be eclipsed by hope.