Born in Detroit, Michigan in 1949, Kevin Tolman attended classes at the Detroit Institute of Arts and Cass Tech as a youth, and he is a graduate of the Art School of the Society of Arts and Crafts, in Detroit. In 1981 he moved to the Ramah Navajo Reservation in western New Mexico. Feeling at home in the southwest, he later settled in the Duranes area of Albuquerque, building an adobe house and studio in 1987. In 1990 he spent a year painting in Arraiolos, a small hill town in central Portugal, and in the years since he has continued to work when traveling in Europe, Mexico, South America, and most recently as an Artist in Residence with the Obras Foundation in Portugal.
Kevin Tolman has been painting for over four decades, and exhibiting his work in many galleries, museums, and universities across the United States where his paintings are included in a large number of private, corporate, and public collections. His work has also been exhibited internationally in Canada, Mexico, Germany, France, England, and in Portugal. A Tolman canvas is included in the Albuquerque Museum’s permanent collection, and his work now hangs in the collections of the New Mexico State Capitol, and the University of New Mexico. Recently a large canvas was purchased by the city for installation in the Albuquerque Convention Center.
Tolman works in a variety of mediums including drawing in pencil and caran d’ache, and painting with acrylic, collage and mixed medias on canvas or paper. These are abstract works that primarily are influenced by the natural world and are often informed by a sense of place.
"I got to thinking about what it is that is interesting or fun for me in what I do, or indeed how I live. One of those things is giving myself time and space to wander without a set goal. A journey with no fixed destination. On a good day, each move or attempt leads to the next. Some are mistakes; however, they lead to something interesting. Usually, I do not know exactly where I am going next. I simply enjoy the process. The solution, or the painting, really comes from the doing, or the act of painting. The images seem to rise up out of this act. Sometimes I feel the paintings are much like sitting and looking straight into a little tiny bit of the ground. I notice the sort of chaotic composition between the leaves, the grass, the sticks, the bugs, the dewdrops. All arranged in a kind of simple, thick almost unfocused beauty." - Kevin Tolman