Monday, February 11, 2013

Thomas Paquette: Souvenir

Thomas Paquette
I’ve written before (here and here) about the unique and wonderful visual character of Thomas Paquette’s landscape paintings, both large and small.

Paquette is painter based in Western Pennsylvania. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing two shows of his work here in Philadelphia, and I’ve been looking forward to a third, new show that is currently at the Gross McCleaf Gallery titled “Souvenir”.

I was hoping to see the show before writing my post, but I don’t want my difficult schedule keep me from letting those in the area know about the show while there is still plenty of time to see it. (I’m determined to see it before it leaves, but it may come down to the last weekend).

Paquette’s work, while at first glance of relatively common landscape subjects of trees, rivers and fields, is on closer examination a marvel of edges and subtleties of color. He uses a carefully chosen range of colors, at once muted and vibrant, arranged within a delicate laticework of edges — a freeform geometry of suggested, but not actually drawn, lines.

I’ve surmised in the past that some of this may have come out of Paquette’s work with gouache — in which he paints absolutely fascinating miniatures — and the tendency of that paint to lay flat in areas, and form more defined edges where colors meet than other media like oil. Whether that’s the case or not, the effect has taken on a life of its own in his large oils, giving them a wonderful textural feeling from across the room, and a quality of freeform abstractions in their close up surface.

Though he paints reference sketches and studies in the field, Paquette’s final paintings are finished in the studio, often refined over a period of months in which the surface is worked and reworked until he arrives at the state of balance he is trying to achieve.

There are galleries of his work in Paquette’s website in several categories. There is also a page, not in the regular drop-down navigation, of works from the South of France.

As appealing as his paintings are in reproduction, they are much more so in person. If you get a chance to see the show here in Philadelphia, of one of his other shows in various locations, I recommend it.

Thomas Paquette: Souvenir is on view at the Gross McCleaf Gallery in Philadelphia until February 23, 2013.

(Note that the link to the show will only be relevant until the show is over, and will then point to the gallery’s next show. Their online pages for the artist, however, should remain current.)

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