gallery ten


October 1 – November 2, 2014

Toby Lurie
Performance Paintings

Toby Lurie
Toby Lurie


Synesthesia is the interlacing of music, poetry, painting and performance. Each discipline interacts with the others. Painting is the mortar which binds these forms together.

Toby Lurie continues archiving his music compositions and poetry on canvas. He also archives works for other musicians and poets. His central focus as a poet is to cross that fine line between music and the spoken word so that one becomes the other and the other becomes the one. In this service his poetry is composed from a variety of musical forms: Rondo, ostinato, fugue and crab-fugue, repetition and counterpoint. The fugue form permeates his language compositions. He calls his work, as a Poet/Musician and painter, Synesthesia, which is the interlacing of all the major art disciplines: Music, Poetry, Dance, Theater and Painting which is the mortar which binds everything together.

Toby Lurie has published 19 books of poetry and, among his larger language compositions, has composed 13 Symphonies for Spoken-Voice-Chorus, including his Symphony on the Holocaust a work for 80 voices, and a painting of that symphony, in addition to a painting of Beethoven's 9th Symphony which is 120 square feet.

visit Toby's website


Toby Lurie
Toby Lurie


The following is an excerpt from a review by Susan Hillhouse, Curator, Triton Museum, Santa Clara, CA, March 2001.

"My Heart Must Dance Loose and Free"

The art of Lurie is individual and personal and, like all important art, universal. In the work of this post-Shakespearian, pre-Rap artist, we hear echoes of the past and predict tones of the future. Within his paintings, we find visual and philosophical connections in Kandinsky's Improvisations, Whistler's Nocturnes, and Miro's playful personages.

Lurie's approach is intellectual, physical and close to his spirit. With graceful, free-form movements, he uses brushes, sponges and trowels to apply paint, paste and collaged elements to the canvas surface. Seeking balance and harmony within a cacophony of themes, Lurie works instinctually through chance and opportunity as he scumbles, scrapes and etches into the work with chopsticks, fingers and the ends of his brushes.  Synthesizing sound, color and language, Lurie pours his soul into improvisational canvas scores that a musician could sit down and play.

Built with rubato-like compositions, often opening with a staccato and finishing with a legato, Lurie's paintings frequently include previously painted canvases, journal pages and old musical scores. Binding and cementing the work are warm/cool melodic hues of paint that sometimes blast and jitterbug off the canvas and sometimes decrescendo into a softer voice. Integrated into the viewing experience is a sound system for recording music that allows us to hear the performance of the piece.
Toby Lurie's genius is manifested in his ability to create serenity through the controlled chaos of time-traveled interpretations of paint, language and music. No matter how he arrives at this, from knowledge or wisdom, from head or heart, he makes sure we are invited along as an audience, participant and as member of the chorus – seeing, feeling and singing his joy.