Clayton Thomas’ work is an amalgamation of style and technique. It intentionally teeters between direct representation and artful abstraction. The subjects are everyday scenes but the stylistic execution launches it far out of the realm or monotony, creating a dynamic visual world. Thomas’ prime subject—the feminine nude, alludes to universal forms of femininity through geometric deconstruction. The nonspecific handling of the subject evokes atmosphere and mood rather than particular identity. Through painterly strokes and wide fields of color Clayton Thomas describes women in truth rather than idealized perfection. Within the body of work there are also depictions of pop culture icons, jazz nightlife, eerie interiors, religious icons and floral still-lives. Which, like the feminine nudes, speak to larger human experience. Many subjects have no facial features; they are a celebration of natural form and common circumstance; they succeed because they expand to the viewer in evocative ways. One can find personal experience buried in the layered paint. The body of work is an exploration of form utilizing a multiplicity of techniques while exploring shape and color in aggressive pallets. In addition to exploration of line and plane the idea of dimension as illusion is also explored. Explicit foreshortening creates depth but backgrounds shatter that illusion with intentional flat shapes and two-dimensional patterning. The subjects are often tightly cropped offering a further level of abstraction, which propels sections into pure abstraction, functioning solely on the merits of composition. Clayton Thomas’ style fuses bold painterly strokes, reminiscent of the American 1950s Abstract Expressionist movement with the concept of deconstructed form resembling early 1900’s cubist ideals. Stylistic influence from some of the great modernist painters can be seen in Clayton’s work, though belonging to a school of painting or representing a specific style is not what Clayton Thomas is about. Although often considered an action painter for his fast-paced process, the painting is also not about speed. Yet the rate he completes work allows his collections to be transient as they evolve and vary in size, pallet and feel. His approach ranges from tight minimal geometric description to painterly textural abstraction, as color and surface clash and co-exist and somewhere in between sits a collection of pert expressions that indulge sprightly aesthetics. Because Clayton Thomas paints appropriately to mood and available materials his paintings reflect an evident process. This ephemeral quality defines the tone of his work. The unfinished semblance reflects an attitude that the final product is always secondary to the artistic process. Spontaneity is evident as no rules apply. This is what makes the art enticing and accessible. The painting is neither stuffy nor elitist; it strives only to communicate what it is: paint on canvas, but it simultaneously it transcends that inviting viewers to bring what they will to it. -Katie Mangano
Country: United States
Site: Clayton Thomas Paintings
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