Faculty Colloquium: James Thompson

Please join us on Friday, April 8 from 12:40–1:40 pm in the Hatfield Room for the Faculty Colloquium.  The Colloquium will be presented by James B. Thompson, Professor of Art, and is titled Linear Metaphysics: Contemporary Mark-Making and Time-Based Art Works.

His abstract:

The stratification or layering of time is of particular interest to me as a professional artist and educator working in 21st century global and visual culture because the contemporary paintings and prints I create inherently reflect their origins as both, part of the time-honored ancient tradition and continuum of mark-making by human beings, and the original form of time-based media. My creative agenda includes the exploration of and research into the history and prehistory of the unique culture of the peoples of Ancient Scotland to somehow contextualize what I have seen first hand and experienced for use in my contemporary artwork.

In the true liberal arts tradition, I adopted a more interdisciplinary approach to my recent research to begin an investigation into the relationship of art and archaeology throughout the history and prehistory of Ancient Scotland as an extension of my explorations of the larger scholarly and creative themes regarding a sense of identity, place, time and purpose.  I often work in a cross-disciplinary manner to explore my own sense of the creative process as it relates to the larger artistic dialogue of the 21st century global culture so that an element of my work is the examination of historical or recurring themes that help contextualize our present relationship to the landscape and our place in it as human beings.  Formal study of our collective history allows me the freedom to distinguish the peoples and ideas of the present from those of the past as we exist and create in this continuum.  My recent research abroad to view, study and experience historical objects, images, structures, earthworks, stone and their relationship to the existing landscape will lead to creative scholarship and exhibition that speaks to the creative dialogue of our culture.

During the course of my research I discovered profound connections and parallels between how I view, respond to and interact with the landscape of my present and how the people of Ancient Scotland related to their surroundings.  I feel a visceral connection to the land itself and the stone structures, carved objects, dwellings and surfaced stones that were handled and physically manipulated by creative beings in prehistory.  Parallels exist between the surface and spatial relationships I create on painted canvases or intaglio prints and the surface treatment, marks, patterns and structural assembly I see on these ancient stones that have been worked by wind, weather, water and human hands.  I try to comprehend the relationship these ancient objects, structures and earthworks have with their immediate surroundings to better understand the people who revered and worked with them as a sophisticated testament to their cultural contributions just as I now work with the materials I have at hand as a practicing artist and educator whose experience, reverence, treatment of and relationship to the landscape has shaped and influenced the way in which I perceive my own surroundings here and as part of contemporary global visual culture.

The information I have gathered from books and texts as well as the extensive photographing of images, sites, landscape, archaeology, remnants of architecture and artifacts I undertook in Scotland serve as references to clarify my experiences on research sites or to jog my memory a bit as I work on completing preliminary drawings and then tackle the prints and paintings for this ambitious series of new works.  I created digital files of the photographs I had taken in Scotland and I am using batches of them in collage form as reference for everything from color, shape, texture, position, hue, and size of objects or stone to their existent weather conditions, relationships to or placement in the landscape, effects of time and the elements of weather on their present state, erosion or other features.  We will look at some of these images during my colloquium talk and discuss the process I will employ to create the stratification or layering of time as an element in my upcoming body of paintings and prints.

We hope to see you there!