In 25-year-old Thornton’s buoyant paintings, abstracted forms resembling parking lots, amoebas, globes, and gigantic flowers float amongst each other and flatten onto the same plane. This year—following a breakout show at Moran Bondaroff in late 2014—Thornton’s deft experiments with pictorial space filled Stuart Shave/Modern Art’s London gallery in a celebrated solo show and punctuated group exhibitions at Gavin Brown’s enterprise, CANADA, and the Studio Museum in Harlem.
Now, from his big, light-filled studio in Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy, Thornton readies for his first institutional solo exhibition at Albright-Knox Art Gallery, slated to open in February 2016. “What makes Torey’s work so appealing is his employment of purposely ambiguous imagery, which challenges viewers to approach his paintings from a very personal point of view,” explains Holly Hughes, Albright-Knox’s curator for the collection. “Thornton’s seemingly impulsive combinations of forms and colors, scale and perspective, are always surprising, and call into question how the viewer deals with processing visual information. I find myself returning to Thornton’s paintings and encountering myriad subtleties that I did not see before.”