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Anthony Reynolds: Jon Thompson - 24 Oct 2007 to 8 Dec 2007

Current Exhibition

24 Oct 2007 to 8 Dec 2007
Hours : Tuesday - Saturday 10.00 am - 6.00 pm
Private View Tuesday 23 October 6.00 - 8.00
Anthony Reynolds Gallery
60 Great Marlborough Street
United Kingdom
p: +44 (0) 207 439 2201
f: +44 (0) 207 439 1869

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Artists in this exhibition: Jon Thompson

Our first response to these brilliant paintings is inevitably, necessarily, optical and they exploit this reaction magnificently, challenging our vision and delighting the eye with shards of colour and dancing light. But there is another layer to the works. The titles provoke an equally tantalising, intellectual relationship with the paintings; Antioch, Bethsaida, Kleve, Malabar, Al Halil, Cascia, Ortygia – an exotic and potent roll call of histories and belief. The names themselves establish a profound sensation of time, or the timeless. The associations are loaded with significance: Antioch, first mission of Saint Paul, the adoption of the name Christian, the viral spread of ‘the word’; Bethsaida, birthplace of Saint Peter, keeper of the gates, a diptych closed but slightly ajar, moving in opposite directions; Al Halil, site of the hanging gardens of Babylon, seen through the interior structure of a Persian miniature, veiled by a suggestion of camouflage that reflects its current dismal state as a US army base. Kleve, birthplace of Joseph Beuys, home of Meister Eckhart - a painting cut vertically and horizontally by the symmetry of the cross but constructed of an asymmetrical system of movements reflecting the act of genuflection. Ortygia, birthplace of Santa Lucia, patron saint of vision itself, - rainbow threads of colour travelling across the bay.

So, as our eyes skip across the surface and relish the masterful organisation of colour, surface and jostling symmetries the mind is occupied by the sense of time and the spiritual experience of a work of art; an act of faith that is exquisitely entwined with the expressions of belief that are signified by the titular subject of the paintings.

Jon Thompson was born in 1936. A successful early career as a painter (solo shows in London and New York in the early sixties) was followed by many years as a uniquely influential art educationalist, curator and writer. Responsible, as Dean of Fine Art, for the development of Goldsmiths College as the hotbed of new talent in this country and afterwards Head of the Department of Fine Art at the Jan Van Eyck Akademie in Maastricht, Thompson was also curator of such important shows as Falls the Shadow (1986, with Barry Barker) and Gravity and Grace (1993). His most recent work as a curator was the exhibition Inner Worlds Outside (2006) at the Whitechapel Gallery and the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Thompson is author of many artist monographs and other publications, including the recently published How To Read A Modern Painting (Thames and Hudson, 2007). This is the fourth exhibition of Thompson’s work at the gallery, and the second devoted to his recent paintings.

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