D’Alessio Gallery, home of renowned Maine artist Russell D’Alessio, will present “Outsider In: The Untamable Art of Tom Coyle” in September at 12 Mount Desert St., Bar Harbor, on the Village Green.
An opening reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 3. The exhibit runs through Sept. 17.
“It’s funny to be presenting the first gallery show ever for an emerging artist who happens to be 60,” says Linda D’Alessio, manager of D’Alessio Gallery. “And he’s been right under our noses for 20 years,” she adds with a laugh.
In fact, Coyle and the D’Alessios are sort of related.
“I’m their youngest son’s ex-brother-in-law,” says Coyle, of Bangor. “I love seeing Russ and Linda at family events, they’re great people, and we always have a good laugh.”
And so for most of the past 20 years, Coyle’s art never came up.
“It’s my hobby, and as much as it’s fun, you don’t want to bore people with your hobby, especially when they’re real artists,” says Coyle. “But I kept painting, and when I got the chance to show Linda and Russ a few pieces, I guess they liked them.”
Russell D’Alessio affirms that they did. “I find [his paintings] fascinating. They’re powerful but very expressive with dark and light themes undercut with humor. Meanwhile, he’s mixing this sort of old-school punk-rock sensibility with the Middle Ages and archaeological influences, history, strange symbolism and really just a lot of imagination. Tom’s work is unusual and it’s authentic, and we expect collectors will take notice.”
Coyle’s arresting and original work reflects his DIY approach to art. “You get a board or something, a surface, and you get to work,” he says. “Pretty soon you’re not worried about the lighting or a lack of the materials or what anyone might ever think of it. You work until it becomes something you like, something that says something you can’t put into words.”
“We don’t do this often, feature another artist at the gallery,” says Linda D’Alessio. “But we felt compelled this year, by Tom’s work. People should see these paintings.”
Coyle has a varied background. He was raised in Nova Scotia and Toronto. After university, he worked in theater and journalism. He moved to the U.S. in the late 1990s. Now self-employed as a financial writer, he was previously a staff columnist for the Wall Street Journal and an editor at the Financial Times. Self-taught, he has painted since childhood but only recently started connecting with an audience.