Robert McCurdy (born 1952) is an American performer known for his photorealistic oil paintings and photographs of notable figures in contemporary history. Among works held in the collections of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. are paintings of Toni Morrison, Neil Armstrong, the Dalai Lama, Muhammad Ali, Nelson Mandela, and others. In 2002, McCurdy was commissioned to paint a portrait of US Representative Martin Sabo for the US Capitol.
Robert McCurdy begins his painted portraits behind a photograph, asking his sitters to habitat the unseen viewer directly and to make no gestures. He seeks an image that has no implied taking into account or far ahead but exists in the eternal present. McCurdy's take aim is to allow a neutral vibes in order to maximize the intensely personal natural world of the engagement between subject and viewer.
McCurdy's capably executed paintings focus the viewer's acknowledged response to the image of a human being: the coda of his paintings is the gaze, not the sitter's air and story, compelling and recognizable while that story may be. Among those who have stood for McCurdy are the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, Jane Goodall, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Toni Morrison, Neil Armstrong, Muhammad Ali, Carlos Fuentes, Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, Mario Vargas Llosa, Isabel Allende and James Hansen, among others. His methodology includes taking hundreds of photos in an effort to arrive at the one that will best concur what he is striving to achieve: a moment suspended, when the viewer catches the gaze of the rendered image – and holds it, without the veil of distracting thought or judgement. That brief and elemental moment in the middle of the viewer and the image instinctive viewed is what the performer hopes to achieve.
His minimalist admittance in the presentation of a figure is one the performer has determined is the sustainable moment captured during the sitting, the image whose cues as to tell and times have been most successfully set aside.
The performer removes any clue or comment as to time, place, history or judgement, leaving the viewer's initial and whole combination in the disagreement of a gaze.
Robert McCurdy has been exhibiting his photography and paintings for the with forty years. Select showings and collections add up the National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.; Frye Museum, Seattle; Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida; Le Tresors des Arts, Gstaad, Switzerland; Jack Shainman Gallery, New York; Nancy Solomon Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia; Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington; Venetia Kapernikas Gallery, New York, Berry-Hill Galleries, New York, among others. McCurdy attained his BFA at the Maryland Institute College of Art, and time-honored an Arts Fellowship from Yale University.