Opening reception: Saturday 11/3, 4:00-7:00pm
Exhibition Tour with the Artist: Saturday 11/17, 2:00pm
Closing reception + Artist Talk with Special Guests: Saturday 12/1, 4:00-7:00pm
2017-2018 Brightwork Fellow, William Paul Thomas, presents the latest in an ongoing series of portraiture through the exhibition, Super Normal. These explorations began in 2015 with the portrait of Thomas’ nephew, Michael. In the years that followed Thomas has expanded the series to include men he has developed personal relationships with, some over long periods of time, and others in brief connections such as a daily commute to work.
These portraits are designed to be an intimate gesture of love and recognition to the subject presented. Thomas uses the process of painting as a unique way to record the significance of his connection with each individual. The subjects are presented as busts, elevating the individual to the status of iconography and challenging the viewer’s perceptions of encounters with anonymous Black men. Each subject’s skin tone transitions into a rich blue tone, a reference to the condition known as cyanosis; blueness of the skin that results from improperly oxygenated blood. This marking of the face becomes a metaphor for the disenfranchisement that people of color have experienced by way of white supremacist ideologies. The partially veiled portraits serve as a way to honor everyday people, in direct contradiction to the glorification of celebrities, and reflect the impact each individual has had on the day to day life of the artist.