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Opening Reception - Courting Wonder | Thomas Wharton


Announcing our next exhibition. For this show we are bringing in Thomas Wharton from Wheeling, WV. We are honored to have the opportunity to present his work and feature this renowned artist. While we find Wharton painting varying subject matter we are choosing to focus on his realistic portraiture. The scenes that we will present beg the viewer to consider their spirituality, their connection to the universe, and perhaps ask what is divine. As I have viewed Wharton's work and more specifically watched the painting from the flyer be developed, it's clear to me that Wharton wrestles with a question of mankind's role and placement in the universe, both while living and after death. It's a question that some of us ask if we choose to leave behind the seemingly concrete ideologies of organized religion or the spiritual books that we have carried through the ages. Wharton's images feel both vulnerable and strong, organized and chaotic, longing yet peaceful. Each one is a brilliant portrayal of the questions we ask when we search ourselves, as indeed Wharton does and shares with his audience.

"It’s clear to me now that all I can do, is paint what I see, because it’s the seeing that’s the gift, not the making. The making is technique. What I see is a light. Not a light in the usual sense, as external illumination, but something more like an internal radiance, something that shines out from the center of being. When I finally learned to recognize it, I realized that I see this light everything, everywhere. All things project it in some form. This light brings my mind into silence, to presence. It has energy and feels alive in a way that feels vividly real to me. It’s what I’ve come to understand as the experience of beauty and where beauty and awe come together.

It’s not something that I can specifically set out to paint, but if I just paint what I see, it’s there. And when I see it in the painting, I know the painting is finished."

- Thomas Wharton


Thomas Wharton studied at The Art Student’s League of New York, The New York Studio School, The New York Academy of Art, The Grand Central Academy, and The National Academy of Design. His work has won many awards, including The Georgie Read Barton Award, The Katlin Seascape Award (twice), the Windsor Newton Award, and the Richard C. Pionk Memorial Prize for Painting. He has been included in the Art Renewal Center’s Annual Salon, and his portrait work has been awarded a Certificate of Excellence by The Portrait Society of America, where he now has been given Signature Status.

He has shown at the National Arts Club in New York, The Salmagundi Club, the Dacia Gallery, the West Virginia University Museum of Art, The West Virginia Cultural Center, Tamatack Foundation, Stifel Fine Arts, ETC., the Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art, the RJD Gallery, and the Nutting Gallery. His work is included in the Cultural Archives of the state of West Virginia, and his children’s book art is included in the permanent collection the the Mazza Museum of International Children’s Book Art. His paintings have been included many publications, including American Art Collector, Fine Art Connoisseur, International Artist, and Poets and Artists magazines, as well as the book, 21st Century Figurative Art: The Resurrection of Art. His work can be found in private and institutional collections throughout the United States.

In addition to his career in fine and applied art, he holds a Bachelor’s and Masters degree in piano from West Virginia University.