“Draw something for me.” That’s what Lucille said to her preschool son when artist Jerry Thomas would ask, “what can I do now, Mom?”
That’s how it started. Then teachers’ commented on his art talent, he recieved art awards and had a career day with a Playboy Magazine cartoonist. Then it was on to Dana College and Omaha Art School. A 30-year career as a designer and art director with the inescapable revisions of graphic art lead him to focus his art energies on abstract creations.
“It’s hard to force my artwork into a single category,” Thomas said. “‘Abstract bas-relief’ oversimplifies the textural dimensions of my technique. The art is bold and powerful, merging diametric concepts into singular expressions. Intentional symmetry unites with the random arcs of natural line. Organic forms meld with measured angles. The medium I have chosen joins two different worlds. To be hung on a wall like a painting, yet invoke the presence of sculpture. Paintings with dimension.”
One of the most dramatic features of the artwork is the spectrum of textures Thomas is able to capture through the use of heat, flame, water, chemicals and tools. His work diverges from any traditional concept of bas-relief and enters a category of its own. Viewers are drawn to touch the surface. When you study one of the pieces, you may swear they are crafted from stone, wood, metal, leather or even ice. The lines often seem carved by the flow of water or cracked by the heat of the sun. Yet, this is not the case.
“The unique medium in which I work allows me to emulate the unplanned lines of nature with careful decision. Chaos tamed,” he said. “The theme of dichotomous ideals working together moves through many layers of each work. Not just in the abstract forms I create, but also in the marriage of sculpture and painting.”
The surface must be properly shaped to welcome the brush stroke. The colors must cooperate with the depth and ridges of the texture. The elements must come together to present a unified image that will move the viewer.
“The final pieces tell bold stories in their careful lines and random whorls. They speak in the language of color, form and texture,” he said. “If you think you ‘see something’ or ask ‘what is it?’ it’s simply my attempt at expressing the relationship between art and emotion.”
Jefferson City Art Club, Capital Arts and Mid-Missouri art news
Are you interested in art or do you have a friend who is? The Jefferson City Art Club meets the third Monday each month September through May. The next art club meeting is 5:30-7:30 p.m. Feb. 18 at 409 Ellis Blvd. in the community room. Professional artist Peggy King, who works in fused glass, will give a presentation about “Snow Flake Glass.” For more information, visit the club’s website at jeffersoncityartclub-missouri.com.
The “Show-Me Art” exhibit begins Feb. 8 at Capital Arts Gallery and runs through March 12. Structured around the concept “art is in the eye of the beholder,” pieces will also show how “art is in the eye of the artist.” Being in the “Show-Me” state, art may also reflect the spirit of Missouri. A reception is scheduled 1-4 p.m. Feb. 24 at the gallery, 1203 Missouri Blvd. For more information, contact Capital Arts at 573-636-8355.
The Columbia Art League will be host their “Truth (?)” exhibit Feb. 26-April 19. There are many faces to the truth, many disguises and veils. In this event, the artists are asked, “what is the truth to you?” There will be a reception 6-8 p.m., March 8 at the league’s gallery, 207 S. 9th St. in Columbia. For more information, call 573-443-8838 or visit columbiaartleague.org.
Watch host Rick Jey in “Spotlight on the Arts” and “Mid-Missouri Art News,” informative documentary series highlighting artists and artisans with regional, national and international scope. “Spotlight on the Arts” is a 30-minute interview with an artist and “Mid-Missouri Art News” showcases two guests in 15-minute spots. Taped at JCTV Studio on Lincoln University, the programs are broadcast on CenturyLink and Mediacom (check with provider for days and times), with episodes available on YouTube by visiting the “JCTVAccess” channel.
Artist Leann Porrello is Jefferson City Art Club’s featured artist through Feb. 17. Her exhibit is on display 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Department of Motor Vehicles, 1617 Southridge Drive. There is a collection of Leann’s artwork for your viewing at jeffersoncityartclub-missouri.com. “Art is the last form of magic that exists,” Porello said.
Village Art Studio in Art Village offers art workshops, classes geared toward ages 6 and older. In one of the three-hour workshops, children will create three art objects. Workshops are held either from 8:30-11:30 a.m. or 1-4 p.m. The cost is $35 per child, per workshop. The next workshop is March 2 and at the studio, 1502 E. High St., Suites 40 and 60. For more information or to register, call 573-230-1414.
The Mid-Missouri Arts Alliance, of Ashland, hosts one-day art workshops, “Missouri Sketchers,” the first Wednesday each month. The next workshop features Lea Litchy’s “Utilizing Computers to Enhance Art” at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 6 at the organization’s gallery and facility, 115 E. Broadway in Ashland. Lea Lichty, artist and computer guru, will share tips on how to make your artwork look incredible with the help of computers.
At 7:30 p.m. March 6, “Missouri Sketchers” will feature Marilyn Cummings, who will offer an urban sketching program. For more information, call 573-657-0711 or visit midmissouriartsalliance.com.
Professional artist Jimmy Mustion does club promotions and publicity for Jefferson City Art Club and Capital Arts.