Robert Tharsing: Second-Hand Shapes is a pop-up exhibition presented in conjunction with the artist’s retrospectives at the Lexington Art League and Ann Tower Gallery.
Institute 193 will exhibit an experimental series of painted clothes produced by Robert Tharsing in 1979. At the time, Tharsing was trying to work outside of the traditional canvas and looking for new surfaces for his paintings. His experimentations led him to look to local thrift stores around Lexington. There, he found inspiration looking at the colorful shirts, bell-bottoms, mini-skirts and other articles of clothing popular during late the 1970s. To be able to use these newly created surfaces as canvas, Tharsing would pour polymer medium on them creating a flat and stiff surface suitable for painting. Once dry, the silhouettes were hung on the walls of the studio and painted only on one side. The bright colors are applied in expressionist brush strokes, a lyricism occasionally broken up by geometric shapes. This sensation of movement is mirrored by the folding of the end of a dress or the sleeve of a shirt. The composition and pattern of the textile are still visible under the paint, creating several layers of colors and textures.
The familiar shapes of crop-tops and overalls are visible, one might even like to wear them, but the components of these ersatz canvases have give up their function. They have been permanently fixed, vehicles for Tharsing’s exploration of form, color, and texture, consistent with his other bodies of work.
Robert Tharsing (1943 – 2015) was an Associate Professor in the Department of Art at the University of Kentucky from 1971 until 2002, when he retired to work full-time in his studios in Lexington and Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia. Tharsing’s work has been shown regionally, nationally, and internationally and is held in many private and public collections, including the University of Kentucky Art Museum, the Kentucky Clinic, the UK Chandler Hospital, and St. Joseph’s Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky and the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, KY. His latest paintings were the subject of a solo exhibition at Christian Berst Gallery, NY titled ‘Paradise Interrupted’ in 2015.
For more information visit, here.