Forthcoming Exhibits & Projects

image: Tom painting, Fearsome Fable - Tolerable Truth, 2012

Tom Torluemke: Fearsome Fable - Tolerable Truth
Hyde Park Art Center - 5020 South Cornell Ave. Chicago, IL
January 20 - April 28, 2013

Exhibition Reception: Sunday, January 20, 3 - 5 p.m.
Conversatiion with the Artist: Sunday, January 20, 2 p.m.
Second Sunday/Turn It Around Event: Sunday, February 10, 1 - 4 p.m.

For my installation to open at the Hyde Park Art center in January 2013, I have chosen to make a piece that tells a story through illustrating quite literally, (although exaggerated) the effect that certain actions can do to our world. But instead of letting the bad guys win, viewers (on certain scheduled days) have the option of "turning things around" through effort and a willingness to change things.

Upon entering the exhibition, viewers will be enveloped in a world that has been used, abused, wasted and violated. In the center of the space are 3-dimensional semi-abstract silhouettes of anonymous victims and symbolic vultures that represent greed and selfishness.

As you walk around the space, along the walls will be a contiguous mural of scenes depticting the results of neglect and raping of our natural resources, overpopulation, with remnants of the distant past, unearthed as reminders that history is doomed to repeat itself.

On the flipside (of every image), is a very different and brighter world, where people think about the welfare of others as much as they think about their own. This world is complete with healthy oceans, snow capped mountains and fresh water for all. The mono-culture of corn as far as the eye can see is replaced with a cornucopia of many fresh produce choices, grown to sustain us all. Part of a localized industry where people eat what they grow and use the dry goods they make. In this world, mechanics and electronics are used responsibly, they are there to support our jobs, not replace them. Alternative energy is given a fair shot, where it grows and thrives. A good balance of work and play makes for a much happier, modern family and friends.

I chose to make the painted mural in a utilitarian, representational style as it best communicates my ideas in a straightforward way. The figures and vultures in the center are best seen as obscure and mysterious images that we can't identify as anyone or group in particular, and even if we change our world, they will still be there, looming around.


Biographical Notes

Born and raised in Chicago's inner city, Tom Torluemke has always had a powerful impact on his immediate environs, including his current home of Dyer, Indiana, just across the Illinois border, as he continues to advocate for the role of art and artists in strengthening the social and civic bonds between people and their communities. Through numerous public art projects, he has successfully employed the visual arts as a means to catalyze life-affirming skills in diverse groups of people, allowing them to realize their unique potential to improve society.

Torluemke works prolifically in a variety of media, including mural painting, stage design, mosaics, oil and acrylic painting, watercolor and sculpture. Solo and group exhibition highlights include: "After Glow" at The Chicago Cultural Center; "The Inland See: Contemporary Art Around Lake Michigan," curated by James Yood; "Critic's Choice" at Jan Cicero Gallery in Chicago; "Present" at the Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago; "In the Company of Strangers" at the Brauer Museum of Art, Valparaiso, Indiana; "Bounce" at the South Bend Regional Museum of art in South Bend, Indiana; "Peace in the Arts" Baíhai International Peace Conference in San Francisco; the Alabama Watercolor Society Exhibition at the Birmingham Museum of Art; and the "In Indiana" series at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

In 2007, Torluemke was named a recipient of the Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowship (Central Indiana Community Foundation) for the period of April 2007 – April 2008 and a winner of the Great Ideas Competition of the Arts Council of Indianapolis. His project "Light The Way" was completed in December 2008.

With over 20 public art commissions throughout the Midwest, they serves as a testament to the relevance and scope of his ideas, and his ability to present them in a meaningful context within their communities: In 2006, Torluemke was commissioned to create two 1,000-square-foot terrazzo floor designs for the redesigned Indianapolis International Airport, whichopened in 2008. Torluemke's epic mural at the main branch of the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library, reviving a rich tradition in the spirit of the public works projects of the WPA era, was unveiled in April 2009 in the Nina Mason Pulliam Special Collections Room on the sixth floor of the Central Library.

Julianna Thibodeaux, June 2009


VISIT Tom's Blog - Torluemke's Daily Punch
For this blog, he takes his impressions and ideas about our society and politics and makes them into simple but powerful statements using acrylic paint on paper.

Start your collection of Tom Torluemke catalogues today! These three 40-page catalogues contain images of some of Tom's most exciting work complete with essays by Michael Bulka, Tony Fitzpatrick, Kevin Freitas, Paul Klein, Julianna Thibodeaux and more. (click on the image to go to the bookstore.)



Most artworks on this site are available for sale. Please email inquiries or questions directly to the artist at



Tom in his studios & on location

Tom speaking at the dedication of his sculpture installation Reaching For The Stars at Purdue University Calumet, Hammond, IN


Tom and Gregory Knight, Curator from the Chicago Cultural Center, April, 2009


Tom in his studio, Fall, 2009



Afterglow Opening, Chicago Cultural Center


Tom paints while fellow artist/friend Dolan Geiman attempts to catch a fish.


Tom on Torluemke Peninsula climbing a tree.



Tom (center) with Chris (left) and Ann Stack patrons of the
Indianapolis Central Library Mural at the Mural Dedication, April 24, 2009.



At the reception for Tom's Sordid Sheets Exhibit at Indiana University Northwest.


New Years Day, 2009 Uncle Freddy's Polar Bear Club.



Tom in front of "Teaching the Young to Fly" mural in Terre Haute.


Tom speaks with reporters at a press conference at the New Indianapolis
Airport, February 14, 2008.



Craftsmen from Santarossa Mosaic & Tile, Indianapolis making A Work of Heart.



Tom draws The Glory of Sports terrazzo floor design to scale (40 x 40').
This process takes several days of drawing on his hands and knees or stooped
over as pictured above.



Tom and his high school art teacher and mentor, William Quast
on a recent visit from Canada. Tom still looks up to him.



Students at Western Michigan University visiting the exhibit The Inland See:
Contemporary Art Around Lake Michigan, curated by James Yood


Bishop Dale J. Melczek speaks at the Dedication of Tom's mosaic at Andrean High School.



A large crowd gathered at the dedication on Thursday, August 16, 2007.



Tom visits the Indianapolis Airport where he will be installing 2 terrazzo
floor designs in late 2007.






Tom Torluemke in his Hammond, IN studio.



Tom Torluemke in his Highland, IN studio.



The two paintings below are missing and suspected as stolen. If you have any information regarding the location of the these works, please contact Detective John Murks at the Hammond police department. 219/852-2906

Hide & Seek, 1999
71 1/4" x 133 3/4"
sign enamel on canvas (stretched)

Between Two People, 2008
5 1/2' x 8 '
oil on canvas (stretched)



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