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Moorestown resident displays solo art exhibition

Gaines’ pieces are at Collingswood’s Perkins Center for Arts.

CHRISTINE HARKINSON/The Sun: Moorestown resident Tom Gaines displays his artworks at the Perkins Center for the Arts in Collingswood through Feb. 25.

Moorestown artist Tom Gaines’ solo exhibition hangs at the Perkins Center for the Arts in Collingswood through Feb. 25.

The vision for his works came to Gaines while he was walking alongside the Penobscot Bay in Belfast, Maine, where he has a summer art studio.

Gaines incorporates four elements – sky, sea, sand and rocks – into his paintings.

“Chance and randomness are so important because you’re letting go,” he explained. “It’s very important to let go, and then once I get a composition that I like, I sit back and I say, ‘Is it finished?’ and I can feel (it).”

Gaines has been painting for more than 50 years, having attended New York City’s School of Visual Arts in 1966.

CHRISTINE HARKINSON/The Sun: Moorestown artist Tom Gaines’ pieces at Perkins Center for the Arts include “TG06 Rock 145: White Gold,” “TG07 Rock 209: Matador” and “TG08 Rock 48: Three Fingered Jack.”

“One thing I love about painting is, it’s there,” he noted. “.. It’s me and I love it; I have control over everything.”

Gaines erodes his paintings with household items such as dish pads and car buffers.

“Sometimes when you erode, you take a lot of the color out,” he said. “And someone said to me, ‘Well, how do you know you’re finished?’ I said, ‘How do I know I’m finished?’ … I can feel it.”

Gaines received his master’s in fine arts from the University of California and taught in different colleges before he became a full-time artist.

“Everybody looks at these and they have their own personal relationship with the painting,” he observed. “But you have to – and I try to tell people this – let yourself go. Stand in front of the painting and talk to it.”

Gaines described how his simplified works came to be.

“I got to a point where I’m walking up and down Belfast (Maine), so the first thing that happened to me was the surface,” he recalled. “It’s very important, so that when you look at these, you’re not getting 800 ideas.

“It’s like music,” Gaines continued. “All of a sudden, there’s this heavy weight up here … These are the things you do as you go along.”

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