Fusion + Roadside Flowers

"I live today just outside the small, rural town of Dayton, Oregon. When I was a child, our town had 613 people as the welcoming sign on the bridge proclaimed. Now, 70 years later we have grown to 2,500. I am sure that for those 613 people in the 1940’s and 1950’ there were many tragedies, family crisis, and losses but there were few if any outward signs of those painful events.

Now, on the road I use every day when I go for morning coffee, I pass a small wooden box on which sits a cluster of bouquets placed there in memory of a lost daughter. A small icon to a loved one. A public display of grief and loss. And, on almost every road I drive across this corner of rural America I see those bouquets-sometimes plastic flowers, sometimes full on bunches of seasonal flowers-and I decided to bring those images, “Roadside Flowers”, into my paintings.

In jazz, “fusion” is used to describe music that utilizes jazz improvisation within the structure of other musical forms. In the “Fusion” works, I combined improvisation of shapes and colors extending my landscape paintings into more abstract compositions. I used an overall compositional structure to introduce a little jazz into my paintings of the otherwise prosaic landscape all around my studio."

-Richard Thompson 2019


Local Landscapes 2018

"This group of works began in the winter of 2017 when I returned from my residency at Playa. I say that my work originates at the junction of what I see everyday in the world around me; what I have learned from previous paintings; and, what I carry in my memory about art. I start with something I have seen in my daily life and, in the process of painting, I work to create a an image that synthesizes seeing and thinking into something new."

-Richard Thompson 2018

Winter Prairie-rain and rainbow

Playa-works from a Winter Prairie 2017

"For the month of November I was thrilled to work as an artist in residence at Playa, My residency was also supported in part by a grant from the Ford Family Foundation.

Playa provides residencies for visual artists, writers and poets, scientists and composers. My colleagues this November were three geologists, an ecologist, several writers and two other visual artists.

Having just completed the works in "Patchwork Prairie" series, I went to this high desert region of southern Oregon with a fresh eye. My goal was to respond directly to this winter season in that landscape. I began with a group of acrylic paintings on smooth paper and then I shifted to the 16 x20" pieces on watercolor paper and finally to the larger works. The selected works here are among the best examples of what I completed.

Playa is a terrific place in which to work, to meet other artists and scientists and writers who are also seeking clarity and meaning in the world we share every day."

-Richard Thompson 2018

Modern Landscapes/Road and Range

Modern Landscapes 2016-2017

"As I have worked through the Patchwork Prairies, images emerged that wanted attention but were outside of the immediate compositional structures of the partial grids shaping that series. I see this group of paintings growing as I move forward on new work."

- Richard Thompson 2017

Patchwork Prairie 11

Patchwork Prairies 2016-2017

"In these works I enjoyed using the field shapes and patterns in rather geometric abstract compositions. In some works the image of a country road sets a larger rectangular grid among the otherwise arbitrary field shapes. There is something poetic about small clusters of dwellings that set country road intersections or exist as neighbors across a wide expanse that I really like. I often think that these little clusters of houses are portraits of those who live within."

-Richard Thompson 2017

Stillness 6

Stillness 2016-2017

"For me there are times of the day, especially in the middle of the summer, when there is not a breath of air, not a cloud moving, not a tree branch waving, when there is a stillness that has the weight of gravity. The paintings in this group are my attempt to put the look and feel of those fleeting still moments into form."

-Richard Thompson 2017

Stillness 4

Perfect: Part One, 2015–2016

"Along with the paintings of the arid Western landscape, I continue to create work featuring the rural landscape. Of these works, two groups, “Painter’s Farm” and “Stillness” were exhibited as “Perfect: Part One” at William Campbell Contemporary Art, Ft. Worth Texas in the spring and summer of 2016"

-Richard Thompson 2018

Full Moon Desert Highway

Painter's Desert, 2014–2015

"I arrived in New Mexico in January 1966. Having grown up in the lush green of Western Oregon, New Mexico was a great new visual experience. Within days of arriving, I was painting my first New Mexico inspired images. Looking back I was too impatient as an artist, too quick to dismiss much of the work done by earlier generations with that landscape to do anything of substance. Now, years later, I learned how I could make my own works inspired by this place of stark forms beneath spectacular skies. In the fall of 2015 these paintings and watercolors were exhibited at Exhibit 208 Gallery in Albuquerque, New Mexico."

- Richard Thompson 2017

Mountains and Fields 3, 2013

Prairies, 2013–2014

"In 2006 I refocused my work onto the American agricultural landscape. For the first five years I developed this work in my studio in upstate New York. Following our return to Oregon I continued to explore this subject matter.

The Prairies created in Oregon led to an invitation from Amanda Hunt to create a billboard image of one of these paintings for Portland 2014: A Biennial of Contemporary Art. That billboard was installed near down town Portland. Here is a time-lapse video of its installation."

- Richard Thompson 2018

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Estate of Richard Thompson