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Jeremy Thomas: Structural Consciousness April 5 - May 5, 2019


Structural Consciousness


How do we see? Where do emotions come from? Can we trace the mysterious pathways of perception, cognition, recognition, and emotion that weave and intertwine within the body and the mind? What structures, what essential base pairs of life, society, and consciousness, form the matrix beneath it all? Jeremy Thomas is always asking questions. He follows threads of inquiry carefully, persistently; using his art as the net he casts out into the dark as he goes. This continuing exploration colors (quite literally) the shape and form of the work he creates. In this way, each series of work from Thomas forms a kind of record – not of answers – but of a process of investigation, an experience of the world, seen through a unique lens. The work Thomas brings to Structural Consciousness is no exception. The primary installation of sculptures comes from a new series, years in the making. Those familiar with Thomas’ inflated steel sculptures, will recognize the basic format of the pieces. However, a closer look reveals a new structural vocabulary at work here. Longer, multi-faceted, and complicated with new and repeating shapes, these forms are Thomas’ artistic interpretations of the chemical structures of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, and glutamate. These fundamental and essential forms opened up a new set of geometries to Thomas: benzene rings, strings of linked circles and hexagons, the varied patterns of carbon atoms. Each piece, a separate part of the puzzle, interacts with the next – forming a whole that describes a larger, shifting balance of chemical interactions in the brain. Surrounding this installation are pieces from Thomas’ Air Paintings series. Vividly colored, with a startling clarity and luminous quality – these acrylic on paper works at first seem only to connect with the sculptural pieces in their varied and bright coloring. Closer inspection shows a fascinating interaction between the forms in the paintings and the sculptures. A deeper look still brings another layer of connection – like the sculptures, these pieces rely on air for their forms. Thomas drew wave-forms across the paper, overlaid with layers of paint, to which he applied compressed air to flare out and massage the painted shapes. In the same way that he uses compressed air to inflate his sculptures and is only partially able to determine the ways the steel may pucker, bulge, and twist – with these paintings, the addition of air added an element of chance, enhancing the barely contained energy of the paintings’ layers of fans and flecks and flared waves.


The origin of both series was an artist residency at Ucross and a visit to Kremer Pigments which set Thomas off on his new line of investigation. Two years ago, Thomas had the opportunity to spend time at Kremer Pigments in Germany. The famous pigment-makers served as an inspiration for a deep dive into color. Thomas moved beyond the pigments’ history and geography and delved instead into their chemistry. Going so far as teaching himself chemistry in order to be able to begin to explore the chemical structures of colors, Thomas was fascinated to learn that it was often the structure of the molecules which determine a color. His first impulse was to explore those chemical structures with his sculpture – and he began to create complex 3D computer models of various forms (drawings were inadequate to achieve the complicated geometries). Not wanting to just create models, Thomas went on to hone and refine his interpretations of these forms. This exploration eventually led Thomas to make a connection between the chemical structures of color and the chemical structures of the neurotransmitters in the brain – where the recognition and emotional qualities of colors are perceived and formed. The fortuitous artist residency at Ucross, Wyoming, forced Thomas to pursue that exploration of color and form without his usual tools. Away from his forge and metal-working tools, Thomas returned to paper, pencils, and paint. However, he did realize that he could still utilize air as a common element with his sculpture. With the Air Paintings, this meant using compressed air to manipulate the paint. With his Wind Drawings, Thomas set up elaborate rigs of paper and pencils, bound by wire to twigs, trees, fence posts, to use the wind itself to track movement. These Wind Drawings, currently on view at CCA Santa Fe, form a fascinating counterpoint to the work presented in Structural Consciousness. The works in this exhibition touch on the unseen structures of our world. Air -- we can’t see it, yet it connects us all, a matrix between objects, within our lungs. The molecules and atoms that invisibly create our visible world. The molecules that create vision it’s self. Beyond this is the further realization that a molecule of indigo pigment or of dopamine both contain the same basic ingredients: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen. It is the patterns that they make that matter, their structures which make them unique. Whether it is a brilliant blue humped and finned sculpture or an intense yellow painting of layered edges and waves, Thomas’ art is the tangible result of wonder. It is proof that the world is worth query. That exploration and experience have value. That it matters how we see … -- Michaela Kahn PhD


McCormick Red, 3-2019, stainless steel & powdercoat, 32.5 x 28 x 30 inches


Wind Drawing CCA 2-2-2019, 2-2-2019, colored pencil on Arches, 30 x 44 inches


Wind Drawing CCA 3-2-2019, 3-2-2019, graphite on Arches, 30 x 44 inches


Wind Drawing, 2018, graphite on Summerset, 30 x 22 inches


Wind Drawing, 2018, graphite on Summerset, 30 x 22 inches


Still from Wind Drawing Recording at Ucross Foundation Residency, Ucross, WY, 2018


Tartrazine Yellow 1, 1-2019, cold rolled steel, powder coat, 11.25 x 18.5 x 11.75 inches


Serotonin Bright Yellow, 3-2019, forged cold rolled steel, powder coat, 10.5 x 37.5 x 17 inches


Norepinephrine Red, 3-2019, forged cold rolled steel, powder coat, 11 x 30 x 16 inches


GABA Orange (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid), 3-2019, forged cold rolled steel, powder coat, 10 x 23 x 8.5 inches


GABA Blue (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid), 3-2019, forged cold rolled steel, powder coat, 6.5 x 23.75 x 10.5 inches


Norepinephrine Silver, 3-2019, forged cold rolled steel, powder coat, 18 x 31 x 12 inches


Norepinephrine Pink, 3-2019, forged cold rolled steel, powder coat, 11 x 29.25 x 15 inches


Glutamate Green, 3-2019, forged cold rolled steel, powder coat, 11.25 x 22.75 x 13.75 inches


Dopamine Pink, 3-2019, forged cold rolled steel, powder coat, 10.25 x 25 x 20 inches


Dopamine Red, 3-2019, forged cold rolled steel, powder coat, 10.5 x 24.5 x 22 inches


Norepinephrine Grey, 3-2019, forged cold rolled steel, powder coat, 13 x 30 x 11 inches


Glutamate Orange, 3-2019, forged cold rolled steel, powder coat, 11.75 x 22 x 8.75 inches


Dopamine Grey, 3-2019, forged cold rolled steel, powder coat, 11.25 x 31 x 15.25 inches


GABA Red (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid), 3-2019, forged cold rolled steel, powder coat, 6.25 x 22 x 10.75 inches


Glutamate Blue, 3-2019, forged cold rolled steel, powder coat, 6.25 x 23.5 x 11 inches


Serotonin Deep Yellow, 3-2019, forged cold rolled steel, powder coat, 24.25 x 26.75 x 10 inches


Serotonin Orange, 3-2019, forged cold rolled steel, powder coat, 32.5 x 26.75 x 8.5 inches


Dopamine Blue, 3-2019, cold rolled steel, powder coat, 23 x 18.5 x 7 inches


Jeremy Thomas, Air Painting 20, 2018, acrylic, Sennelier paper, maple plywood, 11.75 x 11.75 x 1.25 inches


Jeremy Thomas, Air Painting 31, 2018, acrylic, Sennelier paper, maple plywood, 11.75 x 11.75 x 1.25 inches


Jeremy Thomas, Air Painting 29, 2018, acrylic, Sennelier paper, maple plywood, 11.75 x 11.75 x 1.25 inches


Jeremy Thomas, Air Painting 27, 2018, acrylic, Sennelier paper, maple plywood, 11.75 x 11.75 x 1.25 inches


Jeremy Thomas, Air Painting 28, 2018, acrylic, Sennelier paper, maple plywood, 11.75 x 11.75 x 1.25 inches


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Jeremy Thomas: Structural Consciousness  

The works in Jeremy Thomas' new exhibition "Structural Consciousness," on view April 5 through May 5, 2019, touch on the unseen structures...

Jeremy Thomas: Structural Consciousness  

The works in Jeremy Thomas' new exhibition "Structural Consciousness," on view April 5 through May 5, 2019, touch on the unseen structures...

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