David Thomas: Impermanences, April 16 – May 28, 2016

David Thomas lives and works in Melbourne, Australia. He was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1951 and arrived in Australia in 1958. Thomas has exhibited internationally for the past four decades, including in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan, China, Singapore, and throughout Europe.

Thomas’ work is represented in public collections including the National Gallery of Victoria, Australian National Gallery, Art Bank, Trinity College, University of Melbourne, RMIT University, Museum of Modern Art at Heide, Cripp’s Collection (Australia and UK); Chartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery, Canterbury University (New Zealand); Lim Lip Museum (South Korea); and Kunstmuseum Bonn, Theodor F. Leifeld Stiftung, and Kunstmuseum Ahlen (all Germany). He has received awards from the Australia Council, Art Gallery of New South Wales, and Arts Victoria, and has participated in residencies at the Cité International des Arts (Paris), Two Rooms Gallery (Auckland), Centre for Drawing Research, Wimbledon College of Art, University of the Arts (London), and Porthmeor Studios (St. Ives, UK).

Thomas has curated numerous exhibitions and written extensively on the subject of monochrome painting. He is a Professor of Fine Art at RMIT University in Melbourne where he has taught since 1992. Thomas holds an MA in Fine Art (Painting) and a PhD from RMIT University.

I am drawn to the monochrome by its visual energy and its emptiness. I like its deceptive simplicity. A pure monochrome exists only as an idea, not as a physical reality. An actual monochrome is seen in relationship to something else, a background, a wall, or another color. Other things impact on it and it on other things as an intervention. The monochrome if used in certain ways can help us see and consider the world around it more attentively. I use it as a temporal device, as an interval in the world. The monochrome is complex. It exists as a painted surface as a material fact. It is a linguistic fact that comes out of specific cultural traditions of painting reflecting both local and global contexts. Whether it is an endpoint of a certain type of modernism as a reductive formalism, or whether it is an experiential field, or a disruption to our normal way of looking, the simple color field has the ability to generate questions in the world.

David Thomas on When Two Directions Become All Directions, Conny Dietzschold Gallery, March 15, 2014