Sunday, July 25, 2010

PRESS RELEASE: Sam Thurston at Dibden Auditorium wings lobby at Johnson State College in Johnson

Work by Sam Thurston, Transitional Explorations - Poem Drawings, Still Lives, Figures, City Pictures and Landscape, is on exhibit through Saturday, August 14th in the wings lobby of Dibden Auditorium at Johnson State College in Johnson Vermont

Here is Sam Thurston’s statement about this exhibit. He invites people who see the exhibit to send him their comments at -- ed.

My artistic goal is less firm now, or perhaps I have multiple goals. In this exhibition I show some of my explorations. I am trying to retool my direction both formally, which is to a great extent the art of means and subjectively, which with me mostly means choosing the end. Both of these aspects can be the subject matter or content.

In the Poem Drawings I wished to pick a poem I liked but one not in current use, one that I had never heard another person recite or discuss or seen another artist’s illustration of. This would make the poem touch me more directly, I thought. I would not have another voice in my head when I worked. I wished that the power of the poem would deflect me a little from my usual path (if it could). Could I receive a little bit of another person’s sensibility via a poem? (Of course I could -- it has happened many times, and that is one of the things art is all about.) So each poem drawing was an attempt to find a new path, to take a new plunge, to be a transitional exploration. I did about 60 of them and then stopped for reasons unknown.

In one of the poem drawings I tried using a decorative color grid as a background, somewhat in the manner of Klimt. That was not successful but it helped to lead me into my next transitional exploration- abstract color studies. I did the color studies because I could not find the colors I was looking for for the paintings, paintings which I do both from life and imagination. I usually look for form, line and composition first, not color. But now I felt I needed to put color at the front of the line. I grew up thinking drawing was the holy grail of art and here I am trying to topple that idea. Somewhere Cezanne said (quote from memory) “Where color is strong form will also be strong.” The most abstract of the grid or checkerboard color abstractions is a color study for a painting of rocks and water with sunlight playing on the bank. I am concentrating on the means and finding a different end.

In the watercolor still lifes I did in ‘08 and early ‘09 I looked for a momentary sensation: I wanted them to be subjective. In that way they were similar to my poem drawings. In the still life watercolors in late ‘09 and ‘10, partially under the influence of my color studies, I became more analytical.

My city watercolors are studies for city paintings. I moved to Vermont 30 years ago from New York City and have done a lot of Vermont landscapes. Now the subject of the city calls to me more strongly. Partly nostalgia for my city years and youth, partly the many different and interesting color and space configurations in the city and partially because of the many interesting contemporary city and urban painters today. (Yvonne Jacquete, Richard LaPresti, Stanley Lewis, Myron Heise, Elizabeth O’Reilly and many others)

I include a few figure studies, two of which are for a projected large figure painting so they are also transitional explorations. And one watercolor (#12) is my memory of a dance I saw choreographed and performed by Nora Chipaumire and performed by her with Souleymane Badolare.

Lamia, Keats
, pencil, 8 1/2 x 12", 2007
Blue figures Abstract Study,
watercolor, 5 1/2 x 6", 2010