Kim Curtis Bio

Originally from San Francisco, Kim Curtis designed and constructed costumes throughout the bay area and the US for fifteen years including a six-year stint co-running the Costume Crafts department for the San Francisco Opera. At SFO Curtis created the armor, masks, jewelry, head-dresses and animals for some of the world's most renowned designers and performers.

In 2003, armed with further training in the Fine Arts, she moved to Illinois and began a parallel career in Painting. Her work can be seen in collections both stateside and abroad. Curtis is represented by numerous galleries including Kasia Kay Art Projects in Chicago and Nancy Toomey Fine Art in San Francisco.

Ms. Curtis holds degrees in History of Art from UC Berkeley and in Painting/Drawing from California College of the Arts in Oakland, CA. Her internal visual archive draws from extensive travel throughout the US and abroad, mainly Italy and Germany where she has lived for various periods of time.

Curtis currently teaches in the Department of Theatre at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and continues to work in theater, fine art and illustration from her studio in Urbana, IL.


The landscape we observe today is one inherited from the past: a history of additions, subtractions, restorations and reconfigurations. Whether our surroundings are urban or rural, our uses and intentions for them are constantly changing. We introduce materials, we remove others.  We excavate and we replace. The land recovers and adapts, absorbing new additions, covering old exposures.

These paintings explore this relationship of action and reaction. Construction materials are introduced, forcing the developing imagery to adapt. Preserved areas are exposed, revealing history underneath. Resolved areas are altered or scraped away.  Panels are moved into new positions or into different paintings entirely. Spaces are abandoned, dissimilar areas adjoined, foreign elements absorbed or rejected.

The resulting compositions range from graceful adaptation to abrupt disturbance. Elements of ugliness and beauty, history and novelty, disruption and resolution reflect the information each of us absorbs as we move through our own surroundings. They invite us also to consider the cumulative history of our spaces which are constantly in flux.

-Kim Curtis