Click on photos to enlarge.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Thomas Donaldson at Work

What is it? It's an abstract expressionist painting. More accurately,
it's simply paint--pigment and vehicle--deftly applied to a firm surface
by British artist, Thomas Donaldson, in such a manner as to only
incidentally appear to suggest a closed, heavily-decorated human eye.
Usually, when I come upon a contemporary artist whose work I like, I tend to concentrate on the work itself, rather than the artist. That's largely because, the artists, too, do very much the same, exhibiting dozens of works both past and present, sold, and unsold. Rarely does the artist make much effort to show their work in progress. Sometimes one gets the feeling the artist simply conjures up the image in his or her mind, sleeps on it, and, "presto" the next morning it suddenly appears on their easel, the paint dry, the canvas framed, ready for packing and shipping off to their dealer. I'm sure every artist reading those words is bound to say (or think), "Damn, I wish it were that easy."
No, Donaldson is not finger-painting, he's applying glitter to the wet paint.
11-16-17 Heads,
Thomas Donaldson
The British artist, Thomas Don-aldson, would not be one of them. It may look haphazard, but it's not. The artist spends nearly as much time studying his work as he does painting it. You can tell he thoroughly enjoys the entire creative process and would quick-ly eschew any magical force short-circuiting it. Moreover, Don-aldson doesn't just paint pictures, he produces art; and from the looks of his factory-like studio, where he juggles as many as half-a-dozen works in progress at the same time, he stops just short of mass producing art.

There are those painters who work in neat, nearly pristine surroundings...and then there is Thomas Donaldson.
4-4-14 Head Study (detail).
Thomas Donaldson
Although Donaldson is British, he's based in Thailand. His instinctive works utilize the human figure and/or head rendered in a manner to resemble, at first glance, ab-stract, non-representational painting. This is achieved through the application of thick impasto paint, dragging and smud-ging the surface plus the occasional intervention of serendipitous chance. All these elements contribute in the process of making, or more accurately, building a painting. The abstract qualities to be found in Donaldson's work further empha-size the deliberate close-cropping of his subjects. The works also acknowledge certain aspects of the existentialist prem-ise that one cannot fully know or exper-ience the reality of another person. This separateness underlies our daily consci-ousness, thus the closely cropped, frag-mented surface speaks to this awareness in that only a small part of the individual is revealed.

For those geographically challenged--
Thailand is a part of Southeast Asia.
3-18-17 Heads,
Thomas Donaldson
Thomas Donaldson is a figurative painter and lecturer living and working in Southeast Asia. He received his Master’s Degree from Newcastle University in 2000. Since then he has taken part in numerous exhibitions globally. His work is nothing if not visceral. He depicts the portraits and nude figures which are tra-ditional within the historic context of paint-ing. As such, they are easily recognizable, but also bear the burden of having been painted over and over again. This famil-iarity with the subject and the associated ideals of beauty in this overly Photo-shopped era, allows Thomas to develop the process of painting through abstract-tion, yet at the end of the process still have something that remains familiar al-beit imperfect and somewhat awkward.

Is the content secondary to the process?

Head Study, Thomas Donaldson
Donaldson's studio. I could never work in such a "mess."


No comments:

Post a Comment