Topography of Painting

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Treacle , 2011/12 Acrylic Urethane On Polyurethane Block 39 X 26 X 6 Inches © Courtesy of the Artist and Patricia Sweetow Gallery
Laughing at You, 2011 Paint On Paper 54 X 60 Inches © Courtesy of the Artist and Patricia Sweetow Gallery
Topography of Painting

440 Telegraph Ave.
Oakland, CA 94612
April 3rd, 2012 - May 12th, 2012
Opening: April 5th, 2012 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM

East Bay
Thu-Sat 12-6; Sun 12-5; 3rd Thu 12-8; 1st Fri 12-9


The PATRICIA SWEETOW GALLERY is pleased to welcome Boston artist Bill Thompson, and San Francisco Bay Area artist Emily Wilson in Topography of Painting. Exhibition dates are April 5 through May 12, 2012. The artists reception is Thursday, April 5th, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

Emily Wilson and Bill Thompson reflect very different positions in art making. Emily Wilson's paintings on paper give voice to the accident in abstraction, while Bill Thompson looks to discovery in an ordered reductive process. Both artists search for the narrative edge in abstraction, manipulating materials, and conferring titles that reference the concrete world. Thompson will have 7 wall objects on view, and Wilson will exhibit 10 paintings on paper.

"Paradox ripples through Bill Thompson's luscious objects much like their brilliant, seductive surfaces shift and distort reflected images. They are mysterious and beautiful... They are laboriously handcrafted but retain no trace of the hand. These glossy, monochrome, minimalist and hermetic shapes embody the antithesis of the chaotic surface of the natural world, yet it's clear that nature must play a subliminal role." -Ann Wilson Lloyd,

Referencing the topography of the natural world, Boston painter/sculptor Bill Thompson defined his vision from landscape painter to monochrome painter, from two dimensions to three. His objects are hand-crafted from dense polyurethane foam, which he cuts and sands to a smooth surface. The soft topography of the surface references the natural world, but he's deftly contrasted his forms with the artificiality of a polished metallic painted surface. Using hand-mixed automotive base paints, Thompson lets the shape of the sculpture determine the color. Wilson Lloyd says of his process, "His deep lustrous finishes are, again, the result of a long, arduous and tedious process. With a spray gun, he applies fifteen to twenty coats to each piece, primer, color, clear coat. These are interspersed with sanding, polishing and buffing, until not the slightest blemish remains."

Bill Thompson exhibits nationally and internationally. Collections include Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, MA; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, MA; DeCordova Museum, NE; Butler Institute of American Art, OH; Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, MA. His work has been featured in Art in America, ArtNews, ART.ES, Spain, and others.

Emily Wilson describes her drawings as a hybrid of painting, drawing, sculpture and collage. Wilson plays with her materials, deriving unique works on paper and canvas that tell a story of their making. While some artists regret the accident in their process, Wilson encourages the slipped brush, the torn paper, adding and subtracting as she manipulates materials. From her accidents arise the epiphany of her story, the finished work - Kevin Killian comments, " Wilson's pictures are always quite different from each other, hard-edged, flaws left unconstructed, like the diary of a mistake."

With grace and elegance Wilson arranges the sculptural bent of her paper, or attaches the torn segment so paper and paint act in collusion. With process revealed the viewer understands her choices as logical outcries of intuition. Wilson's cites artists who like herself, allow accident and intuition to lead, such as John Chamberlain, Elizabeth Murray, Joan Mitchell and Cy Twombly, along with the painterly films of Antonioni, Malick and Nicholas Roeg.

Emily Wilson received her MFA from the University of California at Berkeley. Wilson is currently a candidate for her MFA at San Francisco State University Department of English. Wilson's work has been featured in various publications including the San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Bay Guardian, and SFMOMA,