Diane Thodos -- Dithyrambs
Thodos’ paintings are inspired by ancient celebratory Dionysiac chants -- Dithyrambs -- and she transforms them into abstract expressionistic gestures in paint and line. According to art critic, Donald Kuspit, “Thodos’ works are a unique achievement within the expressionist tradition, not only because of their emotional impact but because of their innovative composition.”
Thodos studied printmaking in Paris under Stanley William Hayter where she completed numerous experiments using automatism, similar to those performed by Jackson Pollock in the mid 1940s. This Abstract Expressionist method provided the basis for Thodos’ use of spontaneous lines and shapes to energize subconscious imagery.
Thodos writes, “My paintings and prints embody two different aspects: a drive towards the lyrical and an opposite one towards the tragic. Figure and abstraction create a fertile ground for ever-new compositional and emotionally expressive possibilities.”
Between 1987 and 1992, Thodos was a student of Kuspit, who discussed the two salient themes of Thodos’ art, expressionism and the female figure, in the 2009 catalog for her exhibition at the Hellenic Museum in Chicago
Regarding her turbulent expressionism, he writes, “Thodos’ Abstract Expressionism is jarring lightning like music, all the more so because its colors have an atonal resonance … [the tension] in fact energizes and finally explodes the image.” On the female figure in her works, Kuspit writes, “They are uncanny symbols of female self sufficiency . . . there are not many female expressionists (abstract or figurative), certainly few with the ego strength, expressive power, and intense conviction of Thodos, which is why her female perspective is a welcome and important addition.”
Thodos received a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in 2002, and in 1999 was an Illinois Council for the Arts Grant recipient. Her works are in many collections, including the Milwaukee Museum of Art, Wisconsin; The David and Alfred Smart Museum, The University of Chicago; The Block Museum of Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois; The Koehnline Museum of Art at Oakton Community College, Des Plaines, Illinois; The Hellenic Museum, Chicago; The Strake-Jesuit Art Museum, Houston, Texas; and the Specks Collection in Evanston, Illinois, among many others.
An opening reception will take place at Kouros on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011, from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.