By Richard Malinsky, Arts Editor
On his site, JT Thompson describes his work as rooted in an interest of the subconscious. “I am deeply intrigued by the tension between an individual’s public persona and the hidden, unspoken, or even unknown elements of the psyche.”
As an abstract oil painter, he explores concepts that begin with familiar architectural elements—doorways, hallways, and stairways; he pushes, pulls, and twists these elements graphically with a network of geometric lines, angles, and rhythmic patterns that almost become paradoxical illusions. His compositions transform the familiar into spaces that have alternate personalities where the viewer can connect the dots to form their own interpretation.
Thompson defines his style as Geometric Surrealism. He is also clearly influenced by Cubism, and embraces the pronounced use of geometric shapes of Analytic Cubism and the increased use of color found in Synthetic Cubism, as well as multi-point perspective. However, it is the surreal atmosphere and spatial depth he creates with multiple light sources and varying amounts of color that sets this work apart.
“Labyrinth XXX“ gives the appearance of moving through an open doorway in one area and looking through a window at a modulated blue sky in another. Small bright red contrasting geometric forms appear in the foreground, background, interior, exterior, and even one casts a shadow creating a highly skewed vision of reality and a heightened illusion of varying spatial depth. Thompson feels, “it is a metaphoric exploration of the mind’s process of composing an understanding of the world, as influenced by the psyche.”
His masterful use of color not only creates an incredible variety of moods within his rather limited set of architectural elements; it also frequently becomes a structural compositional element. In “Labyrinth XXVII” he uses bright, hard-edged red to suggest a frame to look through into the inner soft modulated atmospheric red that sets up the action and perspective of the receding stairs. He uses color here to draw the viewer in and move through the composition.
Sometimes Thompson navigates the viewer through the composition with an interaction of flat shapes as seen in “Labyrinth XXXII.” Here movement is created by the abstract design relationship of several staircases illustrated in multiple perspectives reminiscent of the surreal graphic patterns of M.C. Escher. Here color is a flat monotone to articulate compositional forms.
The site offers a page, titled JT Originals, where the viewer can see the rich variety he creates through color and compositional design across twenty thumbnail images.
JT Thompson trained as a painter at the Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus, Ohio. He has exhibited widely in the Columbus area and is represented in the permanent collection of the Columbus Museum of Art, public, and private collections.
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