New realist paintings by Terry Thompson depicting historical advertising of neon signage and food packaging.
George Billis Gallery is pleased to present Rich Text, an exhibition of Northern California based painter Terry Thompson's new oil paintings. The exhibition runs from June 1st to July 6th with an artist reception on June 1st from 5-8pm.
Thompson renders wires, rivets, rust, glass tubing, and all the other minutiae of neon signs with precise yet painterly hand that speak to his great appreciation for how these hand-made signs were built perhaps due to the many years he spent as an equipment engineer in Silicon Valley prior to earning his MFA at San Jose State University.
Terry is primarily drawn to older, unique signs that have somehow avoided the wrecking ball. Thompson says, "I see these signs as historically and emotionally charged metaphors for beating the odds. When I render rust, faded paint or broken neon, I'm imbuing my paintings with a sense of humanity and history."
Text is prominent in most of Thompson's paintings and he often amplifies its ambiguity by aggressively cropping. This results in disjointed text and words that confront the viewer, begging to be read or deciphered.
Thompson finds his subjects while exploring the forgotten back streets of urban sprawl across the US. This discovery process, coupled with being in the presence of these signs, is important for his method which coalesces into paintings that are geometrically, contextually, and formally interesting; paintings which reveal a hidden beauty in the mundane and banal.
Thompson's work can be found in private collections throughout the world and in the permanent collections of: The San Jose Museum of Art, The Nevada Museum of Art, The California Museum Sacramento, The de Saisset Museum of Art - Santa Clara University, and The Fort Wayne Museum of Art.