r_thompson_trout_tondo_400.jpg - 46655 Bytes
Trout Tondo
Oil on Wood, 48" x 48"


A fisherman moves slowly along the stream bed, casting a line and waiting for a rise to the fly. Each cast is much like all the others that have gone before it, and yet no two situations are ever quite the same. Seasons change. The fish population moves up and down the stream, waxing and waning with the climate and the food supply. The fisherman changes, growing ever more aware of his place in the environment. The one thing that does not change is the mystery of the catch, when something that had been hidden suddenly breaks through the surface. No matter how many times this happens over the lifetime of the angler, the experience is never precisely replicated.

Richard Thompson is an artist who understands this phenomenon, and understands its relationship to art. A sense of discovery is the key. The painter makes his way mindfully through the process of creating a piece, paying attention to every relationship of color and line, every dynamic balance and counterbalance of subject and composition, until the image snaps to life. The thoughtful viewer, in turn, approaches the work of art with concentration, eager to see what lies beneath the reflections. The understanding of a work of art becomes a collaboration. In both the creating and the viewing of an image, there is a moment of perception that transcends style and medium to become insight and, ultimately, wisdom.

Thompson’s paintings are filled with familiar objects used as landmarks on a circular journey that traverses known territory in search of meaning that is yet to unfold. Through the years, these objects have taken on iconic dimensions through their reappearance in altered contexts and irrational juxtapositions. In these ongoing studies, the silhouette of a lone fisherman in a stream recurs time and again, as does a trout rising to the fly. Cattails and mayflies, woods and mountains are rendered in varying degrees of abstraction. Scenes abruptly shift along color edges, becoming tabletops with flower-filled vases. Here and there are clocks, telephones, ladders, and palettes. Rainbows pour through some of the compositions, bringing them surely to life.

Thompson’s brush moves through color fields as though they were seasons, traversing borders between ideas, shifting from line dance to vivid hue, mimicking the way the mind plays with whatever the eye is seeing at the moment. In one area is a bright, coherent impression, fresh and alive; over there in the background is a peripheral glance that evokes a half-remembered incident from long ago. Hovering in the middle ground is a pervasive sense of slowness that creates a hiatus in the complexities of daily living, thereby smoothing and lengthening the awareness of personal existence.

In Richard Thompson’s art, nature is ever present, but it serves as catalyst rather than as subject. Beneath the surface of the canvas, waiting as quietly as a trout, is a wealth of knowledge for the catching. It is not just information concerning the world itself. It is primary intelligence about a way of being in the world.

Suzanne Deats

Previous Exhibitions

 JOHN HOLT SMITH - Work by Tarrant County artists: June 25 – August 6, 2005


 Kevin Tolman - PAINTINGS + DRAWINGS: May 14 – June 18, 2005

 Sevan Melikyan - ‘AFTER’ SERIES II: April 2 – May 2, 2005

 A FOCUSED VISION - Group Exhibition: February 11 – March 26, 2005

 Scottie Parsons - NEW PAINTINGS: December 3, 2004 – January 8, 2005

 J.T. Grant - BÊTE NOIRE: September 18 – October 23, 2004

 SURFACE - Group Exhibition: June 19 – September 4, 2004

 Judy Youngblood - NEW WORK: May 1 - June 5, 2004

William Campbell Contemporary Art
4935 Byers Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76107
PHONE: (817) 737-9566, FAX: (817) 737-5466
Gallery One Frames - (817) 737-9571

William Campbell Contemporary Art
10:00 am – 5:00 pm Tuesday – Friday
11:00 am – 4:00 pm Saturday
and by appointment
Gallery One Frames
10:00 am – 5:00 pm Monday – Friday
11:00 am – 4:00 pm Saturday