In The Company of Strangers


Caterpillar Love, 1999,
14 x 7.5” watercolor on paper



Tom Torluemke is an artist whose considerable skills enable him to work in virtually any artistic style, format, or medium. During the past few years, he has moved from paintings, sculptures, and drawings that could be playfully described as ‘magic super-(sur)realism’ to a body of work even more personal in character. These nonobjective pieces present intensely autobiographical themes relating to life experiences, states of being, and states of mind. Torluemke is able to move abstraction from a field where formal design considerations are paramount, to a realm where the highly abstracted or invented nonobjective elements serve as expressive metaphors for emotions, even physical states or particular past encounters that inspire or concern him. The resulting works of art present internal landscapes which follow their own logic; while they do not speak the language of conventional representation, they are nonetheless full of feeling due to Torluemke’s skillful manipulation of imaginative forms. Mastering one type of representation, he has moved on to invent another for those viewers receptive to immersing themselves in, and recognizing the universals within, his world of passionate abstraction.

Gregg Hertzlieb, Director, Brauer Museum of Art
excerpt from catalogue, In The Company of Strangers




Mammal Making, 1999, 8 x 22” watercolor on paper