by Richard Thomas
Center for Faith and Life
February 4 - March 20, 2008
Richard Thomas is a legendary figure in New Orleans, where he established himself as a world-class artist before his relocation to Waterloo, Iowa in 2005, having been displaced from his home by Hurricane Katrina. He has created a series of commissions for the New Orleans Mardi Gras, and his work is sought after by a host of collectors, most recently MTV’s The Real World and Bob Newhart's show, George & Leo. His unique style of “Visual Jazz” encompasses diverse and inspired personal expressions and colorful images that pulse with the sounds and rhythms of New Orleans’s Cultural Heritage. The current exhibit also contains examples of his earlier works rooted in the Civil Rights Movement. Richard will be a guest speaker at Luther’s Black History Conference on Friday, February 19.
"I have many obsessions. Images dance in my head, perform in my dreams. Drawings of trees, studies of horses and figures, and landscape sketches inhabit my journals. I have shelves filled with journals, a visual and written record of the same visual obsessions I had when I was a child. These images reoccur in my prints and drawings. My life compels me to go. The images often come from my travels – landscape and figure, foreground and background. These are often revealed through the interaction of space and time. As an observer I map mountains, earth, sky, tree, figure. My works is an intimate interaction between memory and desire, time and movement. Figures implied or imaginary float in tantalizing poses above and in the landscape. I am propelled from one life into another – from one culture to another. These pieces have a narrative quality, and come from visual investigations collected in my handmade journals. They are a record of remembering, as well as an illustration of the process of visually retrieving events or images. These visual obsessions haunt me as I illustrate not only my life, but my dreams."