Tom Arthur has been described by Urszula Szulakowska in her book Alchemy in Contemporary Art as being "One of the most original and innovative Australian artists...Born in Boston in 1946, but resident in Sydney since 1973, Arthur was originally educated at the School of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and Tuft's University. From 1976 he became an influential teacher at Sydney College of the Arts, influencing, with lasting effect the practice of several generations of Australian artists."
Tom is principally known as a conceptual installation artist, whose works incorporate a wide range of processes, materials and contextual sitings.
His work is included in many private and public collections and has been exhibited in Australia and abroad, including Project and Survey exhibitions at the Art Gallery of NSW and the National Gallery of Victoria, the Australian National Gallery, the Serpentine Gallery in London, the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris and in international biennales and the Australian Perspecta.
His works are characterized by their attention to detail, and are equally obsessive in their enquiries into passion and death. Conceived of as self-contained entities, each work is akin to being a chapter of an on-going master narrative. The works are known for their conceptual, technical and formal complexity and by their critical engagement with the theorized and historically charged architectural spaces of the public art museum, exhibition space and gallery.
Recent works extend these enquiries by focusing on the singular object's capacity to prise open these personal spaces of experience. These works continue to incorporate a wide range of materials and technical processes; from traditional ceramic shell bronze casting to electronically controlled kinetic systems.