645 Chestnut Street, San Francisco, CA 94133, Telephone: (415) 434-3055, Fax: (415) 434-3057
For Immediate Release: June 23, 2018 Hours: Tues.-Sat., 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Contact: Ms. Kelly Purcell Telephone: (415) 434-3055 Fax: (415) 434-3057
MICHAEL TOMPKINS: LANDSCAPE DRAWINGS
AT PAUL THIEBAUD GALLERY, SAN FRANCISCO
San Francisco, California: The Paul Thiebaud Gallery presents Michael Tompkins: Landscape Drawings July 10 through September 1, 2018. This is the second show of this body of work, first begun eight years ago. The nine drawings—all drawn in pencil with the exception of one rendered in charcoal—offer imagined landscapes with an emphasis on the effects of light.
As with the debut show of landscape drawings in 2016, this body of work turns to a medium Tompkins usually reserves for studies. Those earlier drawings were worked on sporadiclly over a period of five years, developed without comment or pressure, put away for periods of time and brought out again for development. With the current drawings, Tompkins worked continuously on them. This concentrated effort without interruption possibly contributed to making a more interrelated, cohesive group of work than before.
Though the subject matter is clearly landscapes—one seascape makes its way into the group—the true actor is “light.” Light is the focus in each work. It almost washes out a small hill, leaving traces of a few trees, trunks and limbs softly suggested. In Sea, the waves and their action cropped from an oceanic body of water ripple in the light from top to bottom; one blink of the eye and the light might overtake the view of the water. Over many feet, shallow in height and elongated horizontally, a plateau-like hill ends with light seemingly coming around the land, threatening to rendered all invisible.
Berkeley-based Tompkins turned to landscape drawings in 2011 as a respite from making very complicated, time-intensive paintings. Normally, these interruptions would have him exploring oils on paper as studies for possible paintings. This time, he started with simple forms such as a diagonal, a horizontal, or two curves—and no preconceived notion of the result. As random marks were made with varying grades of pencil, from vertical lines to cross-hatches, landscapes began to suggest themselves. The basic forms echoed shapes that he continually observed and recorded in small sketchbooks while on hikes in West Marin. The resultant drawings, many large-scale, are ultimately invented places, with an emphasis on refined light effects, comprised of layers of uncountable marks, some erasures, then more marks.
The artist received his MFA from University of California at Davis in 1983, after earning his BFA there in 1981. Tompkins was a past recipient of NEA fellowship. He further received the prestigious Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts & Letters. An exhibition catalogue of the Landscape Drawings is available.
Public Reception for the Artist — Saturday, July 14, from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm