Storm Tharp

September 2 – October 8th
Opening Reception: Thursday, September 1st, 6-8PM

James Harris Gallery is pleased to present prints and color fields by Portland-based artist, Storm Tharp. Tharp, whose work was included in the 2010 Whitney Biennial, has been almost exclusively showing in Portland and Switzerland over the last 15 years. Over the course of his practice, Tharp has dabbled in a wide variety of mediums including textiles, video, sculpture, painting, and drawing- taking inspiration from a wide range of influences from 1970’s American cinema and Japanese portrait prints. The core of his work revolves around the nature of identity and its representation and perception.

Storm Tharp crafts his characters by first drawing contours on the page with water and dropping in mineral ink before it has a chance to dry, resulting in expansive bleeds. This process is repeated in various instances to build forms and light sources and is then manipulated in a variety of ways such as by drawing and erasing. This is exemplified in previous portraits and is present in his piece, “Bokashi”. His characters have names, histories, and narratives but suggest multiple interpretations.

A series of eight drypoint prints in the show, made in conjunction with the Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) master printer, Paul Mullowney, are titled “Health”. These prints depict Tharp’s skill for fine detail and remarkable use of varying line qualities. Detailed line work come together to form portraits like “Health (2), (3), and (6)” or a feverish fractured tableau of legs, feet, and asses like “Health (4)”. Though Tharp often thinks of Freud in his figurative work, his “Health” prints were more influenced by Picasso’s drypoint etchings.

Tharp’s painting titled “Vreeland” is also featured in the show, along with “Nosebleed”. Both diptychs are color fields that complement each other despite the differences in mood. “Vreeland” is meditation on lilac, made from gouache and acrylic ink on stretched paper, the depth and richness of the field seen by those who get swept up in the placid lilac surface. “Nosebleed”, a vertical pair of six feet high stretched paper panels, is a darker palette in deep purple and black.
In the past, Tharp has used reductive abstraction paired with figurative work to push his interest out of realism. His color fields reference figurative qualities through color choice, scale, and their physicality.

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