September 18 – October 24, 2021

Curios, explores the innate beauty to be found in the world of ordinary things. Each piece draws inspiration from the everyday materials at hand such as cardboard packing, wood scraps, wire mesh, an oak gall, pre-stained printed paper, bits of found metal and machine parts, spray paint, and acrylic paints. As Thoms describes, “Eventually, with patience and resolve, something emerges from the inert materials that is lively, even surprising and with luck, beautiful.”

More about the exhibition

Engaging the diverse beauty of ordinary materials through the use of everyday objects and forms, painter Will Thoms presents a new exhibition of fifteen mixed media constructions.

A San Geronimo Valley resident and 14-year artist member of Gallery Route One, Thoms has been making art for sixty years. Always using his hands, there is a contiguous thread between his work as a building contractor and his material-driven artwork. As a painter he has an enduring appreciation for many artists: Robert Rauschenberg, Paul Klee, Eva Hesse, H.C. Westermann, Mark Bradford, associates at Gallery Route One and many others both well known and unknown who continue to inspire and support. Presented in 1977 at San Francisco’s Southern Exposure Gallery, his first solo show consisted of wall-hung and suspended constructions, these fabricated from discarded wood, lath, aviary wire, tissue paper, found objects and acrylic medium. Color was added with commercial spray paint and printer ink. With a significant history as a painter (a history which also includes other media experiments), Thoms has come full circle in terms of materials as well as his general aesthetic, and considers his work to be more material-driven than it was a decade ago.

The pieces in the exhibit are strongly influenced by the ready availability of media not typically associated with artmaking. He writes, “I don’t start with any fixed idea, but rather let the pieces evolve intuitively. As much as possible, I try to get out of the way and let the materials do the talking.” Fueled by a compelling sense of trial and error and experimentation, Thoms’ work offers a visceral response to the beauty that is discreetly resonant within the forms that exist pervasively all around us. The commonplace object, newly interpreted, is transformed beyond its original familiar existence.

Articulating his creative process, Thoms writes, “I want each piece to have a clear physical presence and come forward from its place on the wall to meet you, the viewer. There is no illusion and no reference to anything beyond the thing itself. The driving impulse for me is always one of hopeful, open-ended experimentation and the simple pleasure of making something new.”

More work by Will Thoms.

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