Art: Hot Capriccios

Philip C. Curtis paints like no one else under the sun, in whose bright bath he lives on the Arizona desert near Phoenix. Born in Michigan 57 years ago, and trained in art at Yale, Curtis moved to Arizona mostly to soothe a severe case of arthritis. Yet his parched art now appears as if it were formed solely in the spread-eagle landscape, the quartz-clear air, and the human isolation of a land where nature seems with out scale. The figures in his paintings float like mirages, their pinpoint eyes sad as those of pedestrians in hell.

This mystical country stirs such...

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