Tom Gaines is a contemporary American painter who works in oil. His earlier more representational work contains recognizable subject matter, but has strong abstract considerations. His more recent paintings, "The Rock Series," are even more abstract—enigmatic in composition and more complex in surface and color. The surface of these paintings appears eroded, revealing multiple layers of subjectively selected colors. Gaines is a graduate of The University of Oregon and The School of Visual Arts in New York City. He also has an MFA from The University of California, San Diego. He resides in Moorestown, New Jersey and has a summer studio in Belfast, Maine.

Artist Statement: My work is not representational. Ironically, it is grounded in the most basic forms of reality... of nature. That is, sky, sea, sand and rock. These forms ignite my imagination. They are a means to organize the forms and to use color in a very random and liberated way. Color, surface, shape and edge... this is the realism in my work. This is the subject matter. 

Although the paint is appled with a brush, there is little or no brushwork. The surface of all the forms suggest a homogeniety of surface.

There is a paradox in the work. The forms have weight within their loosely geometric edges. But, there is also lightness in the layered movement of color.The process erodes not only the interior of the forms, but it also loosens the edges. This makes them more organic and gives the forms a sense of floating and lightness. Solid, but fluid. At rest, but moving. 

When the composition is very simple, the form uncomplicated and the colors subtlely related, there is a sense of quiet reflection. The mind and body are in a state of rest. When there are multiple forms and more contrasting colors, the pulsation is quickened and a different inner experience is created.

These paradoxes suggest a feeling of meditation. The paintings are like icons. They are like music with the layering and weaving of forms and colors, suggesting fugues. They are like the embodiment of dreams. They are like memory.