Artist Serena Curmi has been based at Jamaica Street Studios in Bristol for a decade. She spent her childhood travelling and sailing around the world, including the US, Mexico, the Caribbean and Europe, before completing an art and design foundation course and a BA (Hons) in Illustration at Falmouth College of Arts, graduating in 2001. After several years working as an illustrator, Serena turned to fine art painting.
Her oil paintings sit somewhere between the present and past, often portraying a sense of loneliness; whether a faded, half-imagined landscape or a lost figure as in her portraits of asylum patients.
Serena’s current body of work depicts peaceful and at times brooding landscapes inspired by photographs, thoughts and memories. In some she focuses on mountains and in others tropical places of exploration. Shrouded in mist or half-clad in snow, softened at the edges or crowned with razor-sharp peaks, towering over pine forests or glacial lakes, her monochrome and sepia mountains loom up against sunless skies. In her latest work, the artist explores colour, incorporating backdrops of flat pinks and golds and expanses of icy blue water. In her ‘Tropics’ series, we are transported to the rich vegetation of a tropical forest, peering out through the branches at a clearing and the jungle beyond.
The artist does not intend to make reference to specific places, instead she creates landscapes that look at once familiar and imagined. Reminiscent of old photographs, even black and white vintage film in the case of her resin-coated pieces, Serena’s work is layered with remembered histories and permeated with a sense of nostalgia, loss and solitude.
Serena exhibits regularly both nationally and internationally and has been selected for a number of juried shows including the ING Discerning Eye and the RWA Annual Open Exhibition. In 2018, she was chosen as a finalist for the Columbia Threadneedle Prize for her portrait series ‘Bedlam Case Studies’. Her work is also shown at art fairs and gallery exhibitions throughout the UK and abroad, including most recently at Hybrid Gallery in Honiton and at Battersea Affordable Art Fair with Gala Fine Art in July 2021 and March 2022. Her paintings were exhibited in the joint Gala Fine Art/ArtDog London group show Near and Far at Ballroom Arts in Aldeburgh in August 2022.