Richard Thomas – Recent Drawings
The Transcendence of Character
The Gallery at
Manatee Community College
Bradenton, Florida, 2003

Untitled (detail), 2003
Mixed media on paper
16.75 x 14.5 in. SELECTED ESSAYS

Defining the figure – the drawings of Richard Thomas

The figures in the drawings of Richard Thomas are comfortable with their bodies. Their poses are natural and unselfconscious. His sitters appear self-composed without being remote. This view of them allows Thomas to be objective without being detached. He often captures a variety of qualities of a personality in one sitting. He may record a model in a mood of languor one moment and in the next minute the pose of an insouciant siren.

His knowledge and appreciation of the female body is intimate while his familiarity with the male form is observant and respectful of the changes his own body will experience over time. During his few minutes of observation of the sitter Thomas makes dozens of decisions that effect the formal issues of the composition, its balance and integrity. His interest is to simplify his record of his subjects. His facile control of line defines the essential presence of his sitters. The subtleties of the marks he makes reveal their personalities.

With graphite he works very quickly on cream or white paper he has toned with an acrylic wash of raw sienna. Later in the studio he adds color that can be pure and saturated. Sometimes he puddles it. Sometimes edges are defined with color. He allows paint to assert its material nature.

Having studied and absorbed the lessons of many artists including: Winslow Homer, Gustav Klimt, Henri Matisse, Auguste Rodin, Egon Schiele, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Eduoard Vuillard, Richard Thomas has distinguished himself with a style and contribution that is his own. His drawings are compelling because they encourage our engagement not only with the appearance of his subjects but also with the nuances of being human he has observed and recorded.

– Mark Ormond, August 2003

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