Lines and Colors art blog

Thomas Paquette – Americas River Re-Explored

Thomas Paquette – Americas River Re-Explored, paintings of the Mississippi River

Thomas Paquette is a painter I’ve written about several times previously, and whose work I find particularly appealing.

Paquette’s approach is fascinating in several ways: his bold and daring compositions, his expressive brushwork, his use of naturalistic and expressionistic color — often within the same painting — and his unconventional treatment of edges.

Paquette brings his considerable range of technique to bear on a variety of landscape subjects, from intimate woodland interiors to grand vistas of rivers and plains, and in compositions ranging from tiny gouache paintings to large scale oils.

In his latest project, Paquette has taken on a subject as wild and varied as the land that feeds it – the Mississippi River.

What started as a project to mark the centennial of the National Park Service with a series of paintings of the river from the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area between Minneapolis and St. Paul, grew along with Paquette’s artistic fascination with the river into the notion of painting scenes of the entire river, from its source to the Gulf of Mexico.

The result is an exhibition of 45 oil paintings that represent the culmination of three years of intense exploration, observation and interpretation.

America’s River Re-Explored, Paintings by Thomas Paquette of the Mississippi from Source to Gulf will be displayed in three venues, on the following schedule:
Minnesota Marine Art Museum – April 20 – August 26, 2018
Watermark Art Center – September 7 – October 31, 2018
Dubuque Museum of Art – April 27 – July 28, 2019

There is a selection of images of paintings from the series available on Paquette’s website, that will be rotated, beginning in August of 2018.

Paquette has a video on YouTube in which he describes the evolution of the project, and shows many additional paintings. There is also a video of Paquette giving an informal gallery talk at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum.

Accompanying the exhibition is an 84 page catalog, with 66 reproductions of the paintings, including many close-ups of details. I was delighted to receive a review copy, and the book is just flat-out beautiful, with the artist’s vibrant colors and remarkable textures reproduced with the kind of visual strength and subtlety they deserve. The book stands on its own as an art book, with annotations of field notes about the paintings and their locations along the course of the river, and also offers insight into some of the fascinating elements of Paquette’s approach to painting.

Thomas Paquette – Americas River Re-Explored, Paintings of the Mississippi from Source to Gulf is available directly from Eyeful Press. As of this writing, the book is listed as out of stock until later in July, but can be preordered there, or ordered now from the store of the Minnesota Marine Art Museum. I will try to announce on Twitter when they are readily available from the publisher again.


2 responses to “Thomas Paquette – Americas River Re-Explored

  1. Steve Gilzow Avatar
    Steve Gilzow

    Thanks for featuring this remarkable exhibition, Charley. I’ve had the privilege of seeing the paintings. Excellent as the catalog is, it can’t quite capture the textures and nuances evident when viewing the physical paintings. I’m indebted to you to introducing me to Thomas’s work years ago.

    1. Thanks, Steve. Print never quite captures the reality of paint, but they gave it a good try in the catalog. Delighted to hear that I introduced you to Paquette’s work. He’s one of my favorite contemporary painters.