In Gallery Y, Thornton's “The Land Between Solar Systems” mines the breadth of digital advancement for signifiers that have been lost in the shuffle.
It's clear that the digital age has changed the way that we experience the world, and Hollis Brown Thornton finds within this constantly developing dialogue a catalyst for artistic investigation. Thornton looks to the experiences of his generation --the generation that has witnessed first hand the dawn of digitalization, embracing then leaving behind quickly outmoded media like Atari and VHS tapes. Thornton's work emphasizes that though technological advancement is a part of our lives, we still harbor a fondness for the objects of the past that undeniably carry memory and meaning.
Beginning first on the computer, Thornton’s compositions are then photo-transferred to his painting and drawing surfaces, where the making process is alternately covered over and exposed, the layers a physical manifestation of the kind of change that parallels the inconstant nature of memory. Throughout “The Land Between Solar Systems,” Thornton conjures up instantly recognizable imagery from the past, along with imagery that jogs a viewer’s memory, but escapes immediate understanding. Works like Han Solo, in which the sci-fi hero is hand-painted and distorted with chunky pixilation, and 3 1/2 Inch Floppy Disk, a permanent marker rendering of a floppy disk labeled “Radiohead, OK Computer” amidst a floral wallpaper ground, each require viewers to reconcile personal recollection and contemporary significance. Some works peer through the murky lens of the past, while others, like VHS, allow us a new and unexpected point of view. Here, the image of the ubiquitous video tape is pixilated to such an extent that it borders on abstraction -- a diffusion of its visual cues and also its former functionality, prompting the question of what to do with these relics whose heyday has long passed, but still linger in the present.
Hollis Brown Thornton is continually inspired by the American South, where he currently lives and works in the city of Aiken, South Carolina. His work has been exhibited around the world in such venues as if ART Gallery in South Carolina, the Aiken Center for the Arts, the South Carolina State Museum, Kansas’ Wilmington Street Gallery and Thirteenth Floor Gallery in Chicago, as well as numerous exhibitions with Aisho Miura Arts in Tokyo, Japan. Thornton received his BFA in 1999 from the University of South Carolina.