Tom Break's current body of work is based on photographs of saints, holy men and women, and spiritually resonant objects and symbols.
The work is created by cutting layers of black tulle and stitching them together, so that the white ground of the wall or frame is visible through the work. The fabric visually approximates its shadow, giving the works an arresting visual presence, somewhere between a hovering shadow and a disembodied photograph.
Tom Break's writing is principally concerned with reviving an art critical ethos from within the deepest roots of the western tradition with an eye toward finding a way to an art for the future that is good and true.
The Good Art
Tom's current writing project is a book-length essay tentatively called The Good Art. The following essays are initial attempts to grapple with the ideas in that larger investigation.
An essay sequence appeared in Dappled Things under the author name Brian Prugh, setting up the initial questions the book will tackle:
*Winner of the 2020 Jacques Maritain Prize for Criticism
Two essay sequences appeared in Genealogies of Modernity:
Modern Art and Truth:
Art and Value:
"Letter to the Editor" about the border between art & life at Fare Forward
"What Does That Still Small Voice Sound Like?" at Slant Books' Close Reading blog
"Divine Providence" at Lydwine
"Love and Reason" at Slant Books' Close Reading blog
"Poetry as a Finding through a Falling Away" at Genealogies of Modernity
"Notes on the Vocation of Being a Teacher" at Circe Institute
"Susan Rothenberg's Search for the Real" at The New Criterion
Tom Break's video work is centered around living aboard his sailboat Blowin' in the Wind with his family. They've worked together to create a documentary miniseries for YouTube and are currently working on other film projects.
Tom Break studied philosophy at the University of Chicago and art and art history at the University of Iowa. In 2006, he “reverted” to the Catholicism of his youth and has been engaged ever since in the search after a true understanding of what makes art good in both his visual work and his writing. He has published essays in The New Criterion, Dappled Things, Genealogies of Modernity, Fare Forward, Lydwine and elsewhere and has exhibited work in cities across the US. He is a co-founder of In the Wind Projects and lives with his wife and four children aboard a small sailboat.
tom [at] inthewindprojects [dot] org