Secrest began doing self portraits while in undergraduate school and has continued throughout his career, often inserting his own image alongside fantastical characters like in Untitled, 2006. Oftentimes the artist finds frames, preferably ones which he considers to be "non-academic, and then creates a piece specifically for the frame. Flat, geometric shapes and eyeless, isolated figures mix with the artist's muted, earthen palette to create a cryptic world where the line between the ethereal and the substantial is blurred. The inclusion of the artist's own likeness in these works underlines the complete incorporation of his work and inspirations in all facets of his life and environment. They provide the viewer with the perfect windows into which one gets an unedited glimpse of the artist's own version of the traditional "fairy tale.
Tom Secrest was born in Columbus, OH, in 1942.He received his BFA and MFA from Ohio University in Athens, OH in 1966, and 1968 respectively. His work has been featured in a variety of exhibitions, including the One Man Show, University Art Museum, University of Louisiana, Lafayette, LA (1998); the First International Exhibition of the National Academy of Fantastic Art, Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE, (1986); and the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Prints Exhibition, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, (1981). Calvin Harlan wrote about Secrest's work in The New Orleans Art Review in June of 1986. His pieces are in a number of prestigious collections including The Print Collection of The New York Public Library, New York, NY; The Print Collection of Harlan and Weaver Intaglio, New York, NY; The Print Collection, New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA; and The Collection of The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA. This exhibition at CUE Art Foundation marks Secrest's first solo show in New York.