Perfect: Part One, a collection of recent paintings by Richard Thompson, will
be on display May 19-June 25 at William Campbell Contemporary Art. An opening
reception will be held on Thursday, May 19, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. The
exhibition will feature more than a dozen oil paintings, watercolors, and
other works on paper that do not simply depict, but canonize, the houses,
fields, trees, clouds, and other incidentals that characterize the
quintessential American countryside.
As a young man I made youthful paintings...
As a middle-aged man I made mature paintings...
As an older man I am finally making art
Perfect: Part One represents the near-pinnacle of an evolution for Thompson,
who considers himself on a continuous trajectory of artistic discovery. The
paintings, centered on his contemporary interpretations of the American scene,
are, he says, the result of deeper observation and thought processes. "I am
working toward some synthesis between what I see in my mind's eye and what I
see in my physical eye," he explains. "I am working toward some feeling, some
sensation, some realization that occurs in that space where those two vectors
Living in rural Oregon, Thompson is surrounded by both the natural and manmade
constructions that inspire his work. He filters the traditionally bucolic scenery
through a Modernist lens, as he considers not only the visual intrigue of the
landscape, but also its fundamental anatomy and intricate balance. In this vein,
he eschews naturalistic detail to present his vision in stylized interpretations
that highlight formal elements and the ways they converse with one another in
two-dimensional space. Precisely delineated, Thompson's objects are often
hyper-defined and neatly compartmentalized-a method that reduces spatial division
while also giving equal prominence to every area of the composition. Such an
effect creates a planar yet faceted surface as well, conjuring a quiet dynamism
among the elements.
The bold, undiluted, and heavily concentrated elements that populate Thompson's
canvases transmit a low bustle, gently protruding and receding with ease
throughout the picture plane. Their energy emerges from the subtle vitality of
structure, rather than overtly kinetic line progressions.
Thompson wants viewers to stop and look at his work, taking in every aspect of
the meticulous and cerebral, though still picturesque, landscapes. He believes
that by pausing physically and mentally, one can most effectively experience the
true essence of each painting. "I want the viewer to stand still," says Thompson.
"I want the viewer to appreciate the quiet. Paintings have a quiet all their own.
They don't move though they may portray movement. They make no sound though they
may contain the chirping of insects or the rumble of a passing airplane. The day
is never over although the light may change."
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Widely recognized in Texas, throughout the United States, and internationally,
Richard Thompson has worked as a professional artist for more than four decades.
His work has appeared in dozens of solo and group exhibitions across the state,
in Fort Worth, Dallas, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. Nationally, he has
exhibited in, among other major cities, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia,
Albuquerque, New Orleans, Santa Fe, and Portland (Oregon); internationally, he
has shown work in Australia, Singapore, and South Africa. Some of his most
notable exhibitions include New York's Whitney Biennial in 1975 and 1981 and
Contemporary Self Portraits from the James Goode Collection at the National
Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. in 1994.
Thompson boasts an extensive bibliography and has been featured in such notable
publications as Art in America, Artforum, ARTNews, the Paris Review, the Village
Voice, Fort Worth's Star-Telegram, and various exhibition catalogues. He has
received a number of grants and fellowships throughout his career, punctuated by
an NEA Individual Artist Fellowship and a New York Foundation for the Arts MARK
award. Thompson has been invited by several institutions to serve as
artist-in-residence, among them the Roswell Museum in New Mexico and Colorado's
noted Anderson Ranch. He has lectured at universities throughout the United
States and abroad, and was a featured speaker for the Artist Eye series at the
Kimbell Art Museum. He is also a founding board member of the Blue Star
Contemporary Art Center in San Antonio.
Thompson's work may be found in many public and private collections, including
the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the San Antonio Museum of Art, the Museum
of Fine Arts in Houston, the Museum of South Texas in Corpus Christi, the
Albuquerque Museum of Art, and Oregon's Portland Art Museum. Corporate collections
featuring his work include Standard Oil Corporation (Chicago), the Sprint
Corporation (Kansas City), Apple Computer (Austin), and the Fidelity Corporation
(Fort Worth), among others.
Richard Thompson received his BFA and MA from the University of New Mexico and
also studied drawing and printmaking at Oregon State University. He has served
as dean and professor of painting at Alfred University in upstate New York, and
held a post as professor of art at the University of Texas in Austin. He taught
at Houston's Glassell School of Art, the University of New Mexico, and the
University of Albuquerque, in addition to holding visiting artist positions at
many other universities across the United States. He has been represented by
William Campbell Contemporary Art since 1984.