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August 5, 2011                                                

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Melissa Figueroa 916-651-4011   .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


SACRAMENTO – State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) will be recognizing Eleventh Senate District Artist of the Year, Steve Curtiss, Friday, August 12th at an event in Los Altos.

“Steve has a wonderful sense of whimsy,” said Simitian in announcing the award, “using a traditional painting style to create unexpected juxtapositions.”

Curtiss’s blend of fantasy and realism can be seen in a not-quite-traditional still life that supplements the standard fruit bowl and wine goblet with a package of french fries. His painting “Munch’s Cat – the Screen,” a play on Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” portrays a cat plastered to a window screen beside the screaming figure.

“Senate District 11, which includes Silicon Valley and Santa Cruz, is an area rich in artistic energy and innovation,” said Curtiss. “I’m proud to be part of the art world here and very honored to be considered in some way representative of it.”

A graduate with honors of the Stanford University School of Design, Curtiss intermingled his painting with a career as an engineer until pursuing art more fully in retirement. His art was presented in a solo exhibition in the spring of 2010 at Palo Alto’s Pacific Art League. Currently his work is displayed at Gallery 9, at 143 Main Street, Los Altos.

“I believe that art should show us things we would not ordinarily see,” said Curtiss, “and encourage us to re-evaluate our assumptions.”

Curtiss’s work has been exhibited in many private galleries. A former student of noted Bay Area painter Alfredo D’Annunzio, Curtiss has taught oil painting at the Pacific Art League in Palo Alto, where he was recently Faculty Resource and where he started the ArtSynergy Group. He works from his studio in his home in Los Altos, but also ventures outdoors for studies in paint and in pencil.

Cherise Thompson, a fellow artist at Gallery 9 and a teacher at the Pacific Art League said, “Introducing new characters to well-known paintings exemplifies Steve’s delightfully honed imagination. I laughed belly laughs the first time I saw ‘The Screen.’  Steve’s mastery of oil painting combined with quirky humor causes the eye to stop, look and wonder.”

The Senate established the Artist of the Year award in 1997 to recognize contemporary California artists.  Senators select artists from their districts whose work is exhibited in the State Capitol for a year. 

In addition to showcasing Curtiss’s work in the State Capitol, the Senate has included his biography and an image of his work in its contemporary art collection catalogue. 

The Senator will present Mr. Curtiss with a resolution honoring his work at 6pm, during a reception celebrating an exhibit that features the work of Mr. Curtiss and other artists:

When:  Friday, August 12th

Time:  5pm to 8pm

Gallery 9 “Rhythm ‘n Blue” exhibit
143 Main Street
Los Altos

To view Steve Curtiss’s art, visit



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