430 Commercial Street
August 10 through 23
Painter Sean Thomas is coiled up in juxtaposition. From what inspires him to the materials he uses, it seems he connects the unconnected and repurposes materials to suit him. Known for his larger industrial paintings of energy tanks, power lines and automobiles, Thomas also paints smaller works of toys, including his versions of Hello Kitty and Winnie the Pooh’s Piglet.
“I found similarities in these two subjects as objects of our time, destined to become obsolete, broken or discarded,” Thomas said. “I’m really drawn to industrial and man-made matter.
“Originally I was interested in the contrast of natural vs. man-made and how the two interact. The scale and ambiguity of giant tanks or power stations within a beautifully lit sunset. I look for ways to make the mundane more interesting, or change the context to feel more mysterious — hard edges obscured by atmosphere, light reflecting off of shiny glass or steel.
“I would draw a lot as a child, inventing spaceships, vehicles, and battle scenes,” Thomas said. “I was heavily influenced by Star Wars, cartoons and toys/action figures of the late ‘70s and ‘80s.” He cited influences including the Wyeths, JMW Turner, JM Whistler and Giorgio Morandi, among others, adding, “Recently, I’ve enjoyed Brice Marden and Robert Ryman.”
Thomas’ paintings communicate a lonely, lovely, longing beauty, frequently with muted colors and diverse depths. Often, the surrounding atmosphere seems just as weighty and purposed as the man-made objects within. Like the machines and buildings he depicts, the paintings themselves feel heavy, deliberate, intense.