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, Genealogies of Modernity, Dappled Things, 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 Break's visual artworks are created by cutting layers of black tulle, stitching them together, and mounting them directly on the wall. The fabric visually approximates its shadow, giving the works an arresting visual presence, somewhere between a hovering shadow and a disembodied photograph.
Saints & Symbols
A collection of small works exploring geometric constructions, arithmetic sequences, and human proportions. Editions of hand-made multiples are available through the artist.
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: An Ethics of Making. 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: