Floors, roofs, walls, corridors, steps, doors that begin from and go nowhere, that appear and disappear, that shift and merge with each other to dizzying effect – this is the subject matter of JT Thompson, a painter from Columbus, Ohio. The visuals seem as though somebody is looking at the lithographs/woodcuts of MC Escher or the production design of Christopher Nolan’s Inception with intoxicated eyes. The spaces in JT’s paintings are skewed by the use of one, two and three point perspectives. Some deal more with flat shapes and movement, others have misleading lines of horizon. The artist calls this style “Geometric Surrealism”. For him, it is a metaphoric exploration of the mind’s process of composing an understanding of the world.
He explains further: “My work is rooted in an interest of the subconscious workings of the mind. I am deeply intrigued by the tension between the individual’s public persona and the hidden, unspoken, or even unknown elements of the psyche. My approach to exploring psychological concepts is highly abstracted. My work starts with metaphors relating to domestic architecture – rooms, staircases, hallways. My work stretches and abstracts these spaces, almost to the point of becoming paradox illusions, to twist spaces that should be readily familiar into spaces that are secretive, fragmented, and uncertain.”
JT is inspired by the plays of light and shadow that he comes across on a daily basis. His works definitely depict the psychological discomfort felt by individuals but they can also be seen as being representative of social or cultural confusion. They bring into focus a situation in which there is a loss of ultimate meaning and purpose, a tilting and blurring of distinctions and directions. But so also is there a searching will, and therefore, a journey that goes on despite obstacles and difficulties.
Below you will find several labyrinths along with two Biblically-inspired paintings from JT Thompson: “Free Will” and “Fall from Grace”. The artist writes on the second one: “The Bible said do not eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge (of Good and Evil). When Lucifer was cast out, he fell and where he fell was the Garden of Eden. The sapling he is holding onto is the Tree of Knowledge. Lucifer’s knowledge was transferred to the sapling – the reason why the fruit was not to be eaten. There are two light sources here, one above and the one from the viewer. The stare was taken from Manet’s paintings. We the viewer have just interrupted a scene we were not supposed to see. The position of the subject is below the viewer’s eye which means we are higher than Lucifer.”
JT Thompson trained as a painter at the Columbus College of Art and Design. His work can be found in the collections of the Columbus Museum of Art (Larry DiRosario Collection), the Downtown Hilton (Columbus, OH), Northern Kentucky University, Greater Columbus Convention Center (Columbus, OH) and private collectors.
Images used with permission.