Ed Touchette

At Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the late 1960s, Ed Touchette was inspired by his reading of Mailer, Melville, and others to leave college and write.

Alex Yatsevich, Professor of Architecture, called Touchette into his office and pointed to a drawing of Paul Klee’s on the wall. Yatsevich, who had worked with Klee and Kandisky at the Bauhaus, told Touchette that if he wanted to write books, that is good, “but I don’t care if you want to bake bread: study architecture!”

Persuaded, Touchette went on to major in architecture; then took up piano and guitar, studying composition and jazz improvisation; then took up painting and drawing, a practice he has continued for over forty years, deeply inspired by enduring passions for literature, architecture, music, and visual art.

. . .

Ed Touchette’s latest paintings are often simplified shapes and colors in an energetic composition, establishing a kinetic tension and visual liveliness. Often, simple painted black lines create remarkable depth and volume, or else cluster into runes. Several closely interwoven frames of reference inform them. To the fore recently have been the novels of Italo Calvino, especially Invisible Cities and Castle of Crossed Destinies.

Inspired by historical accounts of the meetings between the Venetian explorer Marco Polo and the Mongol emperor Kublai Khan in the late 13th century, Calvino’s novel Invisible Cities offers its readers a compendium of brief, poetical descriptions of extraordinarily imaginative, fantastical cities, told in the novel by the explorer to the emperor. A highly sympathetic architectural and literary wonder inspires Touchette’s paintings and becomes explicit in his more complex compositions, which seem like the spontaneous records of a mind marveling at a public monument, a busy construction site, or a bustling city from a high vantage.

At the same time, Touchette’s paintings are also strikingly generative, not recorded impressions but the expression of imaginative forces, optimism, joy, and ideas of order: the assertion of his architectural imagination extends to structure the cosmos.

This duality suggests parallels between these paintings and poetry, which poet Wallace Stevens has described as an interdependence of imagination and reality as equals. Touchette’s paintings, like poetry, are principled constructions of creative imagination. They offer a vision of a chaotic utopia and invite us to participate through aesthetic contemplation and delight.

Past Solo Exhibitions with Matthew Swift Gallery
Ed Touchette: New Construction
August 19, 2017October 1, 2017
An exhibition of new paintings on canvas and paper by Ed Touchette offering a vision of a chaotic utopia inspired by architectural wonder and poetical imagination.
Ed Touchette: Lessons, Barns, and Other Structures
September 18, 2015October 18, 2015
An exhibition of paintings from an ongoing series which reveals and is an homage to influences from the artist’s earliest years as a student of art and architecture.
Past Group Exhibitions with Matthew Swift Gallery
Explicit Color
July 1, 2022August 1, 2022
An exhibition of paintings and sculpture with explicit color: most titles name a color.
November 13, 2021January 31, 2022
A group exhibition of abstract art.
Art Miami 2020
December 1, 2020December 20, 2020
Matthew Swift Gallery is participating in the 2020 edition of the prestigious Art Miami fair, which is exclusively online at Artsy.net this year.
September 5, 2020October 4, 2020
An exhibition for a time of danger and transitions.
November 23, 2019February 29, 2020
An exhibition which invites you to take a closer look while approaching and beginning the year 2020.
New Series One
August 10, 2019October 7, 2019
The gallery introduces a new name, Matthew Swift Gallery, and a new exhibition format: a group exhibition of individual treasures.
Facing Five Years
January 17, 2019March 31, 2019
A program of exhibitions and events revisiting Trident Gallery’s first half-decade years and assaying the next.
Palm Beach Modern + Contemporary 2019
January 10, 2019January 13, 2019
Trident Gallery showed work by Peter Lyons, Susan Erony, Ed Touchette, and Diane Ayott at the Palm Beach Modern + Contemporary art fair in West Palm Beach, Florida.
SCOPE Miami Beach 2018
December 4, 2018 · 12:00 pmDecember 9, 2018 · 8:00 pm
Trident Gallery exhibited work by Peter Lyons, Susan Erony, Diane Ayott, Gabrielle Barzaghi, and Ed Touchette at the 2018 SCOPE Miami Beach art fair.
AD20/21 2016
April 7, 2016April 10, 2016
Trident Gallery showed works on paper by four represented artists at the 2016 AD20/21 art fair.
Beyond Real: Contemporary Landscapes
August 15, 2015September 13, 2015
A group exhibition offering more than fifty paintings, drawings, photographs, and mixed media works in the genre of landscape, chosen to represent a diversity of artistic approaches.
Boston International Fine Art Show, 2014
November 13, 2014November 16, 2014
Trident Gallery showed works by gallery artists at the Boston International Fine Art Show in 2014.
Harbortown 2014
July 3, 2014July 27, 2014
An exhibition celebrating Gloucester Harbor and the area’s legacy of more than 150 years of excellence in the visual arts, displaying works of art by eighteen Cape Ann artists, including four guest artists, and introducing Gloucester artist Ed Touchette, now represented by Trident Gallery.