Press Release: Robert Tomlinson’s “Fragments of Myth”

March 15 to April 2, 2016
Opening reception Thursday, March 17, 5-8 pm
Coffee and conversation with the artist,
Saturday, April 2, 3
4 pm

Chelsea, NYC: Viridian Artists is pleased to present recent oil and collage paintings by Bob Tomlinson on the theme “Fragments of Myth.” The exhibit opens March 15 with a reception on Thursday March 17, 5-8 PM. The work will be on view through April 2. The artist will be at the gallery on Saturday, April 2, the final day of the exhibit, for coffee and conversation from 3-4 pm.

Tomlinson’s complex canvases combine areas painted in oil with elaborately textured and printed papers, as well as computer manipulated photographs. Hovering in rococo ambiences the artist’s figures are awash with vivid yet subtle color harmonies. Ignoring the traditional distinction between naturalistically depicted and abstracted figures, the sensuous color and bold, sinuous contours of these elusive and lyrical paintings play on the tension between figurative references and abstract forms.

As art critic Lawrence Downes wrote: “Tomlinson employs classical anatomy as a vehicle for gestural abstraction.” The emphasis on formal elements of shape and rhythm as independent entities, along with the fragmentation of forms, creates a tendency towards abstraction. At the same time the figurative elements evoke themes with distinct referents. The subjects of the paintings are echos of myths, be they ancient, literary, historical or personal.  However, both formally and philosophically, they can reach us only as fragments

Bob Tomlinson is a Jamaican-American artist born in Brooklyn, New York. He has shown widely in Paris, London, Amsterdam and New York and is represented in many international public and private collections including those of the Clark-Atlanta University Museum, City University of New York, the late Dr. Maya Angelou, Lord and Lady Hirshfield, M. Franco Trecanni di Montichiari, Mme Linda Weil-Curiel and Herr Frits Bernard. A graduate of Pratt Institute and the CUNY Graduate Center, he is also a scholar of French Literature and Aesthetics and has lectured and published in both disciplines, as well as in Afro-American Studies.

He figures in the books, 100 New York Painters by Cynthia M. Dantzic (Schiffer, 2006) and Black Paris Profiles by Monique E. Wells (2012) and is one of the artists studied in a recent Masters Thesis by Charlotte Barat, Artistes noirs américains à Paris (1945-1969). Vie de bohème, liberté artistique et négociations identitaires (Université de Paris I, Panthéon- Sorbonne, 2014). He is also the subject of a film project by the well-known documentary filmmaker Louis Massiah.