COURTING WONDER | THOMAS WHARTON
Opening Reception: July 20, 2019, 630pm
Show Conclusion: August 25
“Wonder - is not precisely knowing
And, not precisely knowing not -
A beautiful but bleak condition
He has not lived who has not felt -
— Emily Dickinson
Wonder is the child of our most human gift–our imagination, and I believe that wonder is at the heart of any experience we have with art. I make paintings that I hope spark that imagination, and point to the wonder and poetry to be found just below the surface of our daily lives.“
THE PORTRAIT AND NUDE AS SUBJECTS:
I paint a variety of subjects, including still life objects, landscapes, and seascapes. But, the human form and portraits of individuals holds the most fascination for me. Most of my figure paintings are nudes. This partly comes from my studio training, but also because it’s always been an important subject in art, in fact more than any other, superseded only by Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary. But there are other reasons as well having to do with what I want my art to be about and how I want it to function in creating experience. Clothing by its very nature, dates a painting and places all kinds of signals about setting, social situations, and narrative. If the goal of an artist is to create a very specific narrative, comment on a social or political issue, or to show life in their specific time and place as Edward Hopper did, this makes sense. But, my goal is to use the figure in a way that is expressive of emotion and spirit, something for all time. And, I want to add something new to this important genre of art.
My other great interest is in painting portraits, in exploring people’s faces and what they express. All people share a fascination for faces, and our ability to read faces is so fine tuned, that we can detect very subtle thoughts and emotions in others, whether intentionally projected or not. In portraiture, my specific interest is in capturing what I think of as in-between expressions, those that show passing thoughts that sometimes betray what we’re really thinking. Those expressions that are like what peripheral vision is to sight. They tend to be present in our interactions with others, but never spoken of directly.