Trove exhibit centers on Carlson abstracts
June 30, 2015
Multimedia painter Tom Carlson continues to experiment with his abstract art.
His canvases include aluminum surfaces and his paints include dyes, water-based paints and oils.
"Oil is my comfort zone, but I found I can get certain color qualities with water-based paints that I couldn’t get in oils, but that’s just me," Carlson said during an interview with The Park Record. "I generally paint on both canvas and aluminum. I’ve been painting on aluminum for about 10 years and it is probably what I’m focusing on at this point."
Art lovers will get the opportunity to see meet Carlson and see his works when Trove Gallery, 804 Main St., opens a solo exhibit with an artist reception on Thursday, July 2, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m.
The show will feature a total of 15 pieces of all sizes, Carlson said.
"I may have more and I may have less," he chuckled. "The biggest work is called ‘Cascade,’ and measures three feet by seven feet. It’s a very vertical piece and was inspired by flowing water."
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The artist plans to show other works that measure four feet by five feet and three feet by four feet.
"My smallest paintings will be around 16 inches by 16 inches," he said. "I like to have a variety of sizes to fit everyone’s taste."
Carlson began painting on aluminum 10 years ago.
"Once I started doing that, I asked myself why I was wasting time with the other canvases," he said. "The one thing I really like about aluminum is that you always have an option to have this translucent quality to your work because it’s polished."
That’s what inspired him to create "Cascade," which is one of a series of pieces inspired by water.
"Water is so translucent and putting these rich glazes on the aluminum allowed me to capture an architectural depth with this idea," he said.
Some of Carlson’s concepts date back years, but a majority of the pieces in this show was created within the past year.
"These concepts all flow and come from nature and sift down into certain elements," he explained. "From there, I tend to break out different groups of work."
The artist was first exposed to art in elementary school and then in junior high.
"I remember taking a class when I was in seventh grade and the way it was presented was more than just making things," Carlson said. "The teacher made sure all of us were engaged and that started it all."
Carlson’s love for art resurfaced in college and that’s when he began shifting his focus toward the abstract.
"It was such a long road, but when I started art in school, I made a conscious decision that if I was going to follow that art road, I should be able to draw and paint," he said. "I focused on figure drawing but did a lot of work with printmaking.
"The techniques of printmaking were so seductive to me," Carlson said. "I loved how it felt to draw on a lithography stone and make reproductions."
After learning all he could in art school, Carlson began working out "the kinks."
"I looked at what I liked and emulated those works to a certain extent so I could create things that I wanted to say as an artist," he said. "As time went on, things just dropped off on the way."
These days, Carlson doesn’t revisit styles he dabbled in 20 years ago.
"In fact, I rarely look at other people’s work as well, because I’m feeling the things that I’m working on now," he said. "I’m continually experimenting."
One thing Carlson retained after all these years is working on flat surfaces.
"That goes back to working on that lithography stone," he said. "So, even my canvases are built up so they are very smooth."
The driving force in Carlson’s art is creating works that are worth keeping.
"When I make something that I feel someone enjoys looking at or I feel is worth putting up in an architectural space, I feel that I’ve done something successful," he said. "That validates what I’m doing, because I think my work is relatively simple.
"That’s why I want to find colors that grab me and that work in the landscape or natural environment," he said. "It’s not about how I can recreate a scene. It’s about taking that moment of inspiration of something I saw that I feel worthy of making into a painting."
Trove Gallery, 804 Main St., will host an artist opening reception for abstract visual artist Tom Carlson on Thursday, July 2, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit http://www.troveparkcity.com .
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