————-Posted by GC Myers—————
If you haven’t made it in to the West End lately, stop in and see the new show, Lake Effect, from local painting (and sculpting!) icon, Tom Gardner. It’s perhaps the best group of work he’s put together for a show. Every piece is strong and has wonderful surfaces and deep colors. When you stand back and take in the group as a whole, there isa feeling of unity and continuity that runs through each piece. Nothing feels out of place, even a piece like the one shown here.
This is a favorite of mine, Amish DriveBy. It’s a pretty large painting, somewhere in the 48″ by 48″ range I think, and is, at first blush, a completely different animal in Gardner’s painting menagerie. But for those of us who have followed Tom’s work for years, it has his fingerprints all over it. He loves to work with juxtapositions of contrasting sensibilities, the quiet set against the loud, and this is a great example. The Amish girls on their bicycles seem to be out of place alongside the bold, exaggerated figures on the wall but there is a certain harmony there in the two existing side-by-side. It feels odd but normal at the same time.
I love the paint handling Tom has employed in painting the wall and the figures. The texture and color is wonderful, a real pleasure for the eye to take in. There’s a richness in it, as I told Tom at the opening this past Friday,that makes me want to rub my hands all over it. His ability to harmonize the rich primary colors into the scene makes the painting sing.
All in all, I think it’s a winner. As is the rest of this show. So,if you can, take some time and spend a little time at the West End with the work of Tom Gardner. It’s good stuff…