Crossing the Methane River
A man he told me it's not the methane,
it's your knowledge that blocks your way.
-Bill Fay, "Methane River", 1970
Derek Eller Gallery is pleased to present new work by Tom Thayer.
Tom Thayer channels his improvisational and deeply personal practice through installation, low-tech stop-motion animations, performance, sculpture, painting, and works on paper. By transforming and amplifying modest materials (cardboard, paint, string, and wire), he creates fleets of puppets, enigmatic figures, shapes, birds, and desolate scenery. His work has affinity for the rawness of Jean Dubuffet, the aggression of the Viennese Actionists, the automatism of Henri Michaux, and the romanticism of Henri Rousseau. For twenty years, Thayer has manifested a singular vision in a multidisciplinary oeuvre.
Thayer "pushes away cerebral, idea-based work," towards a liberated imaginary, one that is uninhibited by conceptual conceits and has the ability to break through the impasse of the known into unexplored regions of feeling and experience. Childhood, outsiders, and the imagination interest him as alternatives to the rationalized and regulated everyday world. The work too reveals his preoccupation with humanity's penchant for cruelty, and the "slightly monstrous" instincts present at birth - the "human dysfunction." Thayer communicates the vacillations of human psychology with a vibrant visual language that is as immediately captivating as it is hermetic. He laces humor and naiveté with pathos, melancholy with romance. He sympathizes with the strange, and conjures the spaces between fantasy and reality, interior and exterior - to experience the work of Tom Thayer is to enter a world surfeit with energy and mystery.
Originally from Chicago, Tom Thayer lives and works in New Jersey. His work is currently on view in the 2012 Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art and Utopia/Dystopia: Construction and Destruction in Photography and Collage at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. This will be his first solo exhibition with the gallery.