Richard Thompson

Monique Knowlton

Richard Thompson is one of the few younger American figurative painters to find his own stylistic way in the precarious terrain between illustration and metaphor. His ability to get down and across ideas in images was strikingly displayed in this group of recent paintings and watercolors from the ambitious series, “The Ancestor’s Dream—A Mythic Journey.”

This work involves Thompson’s questionings about his Oregon farm roots and his speculations about his pioneer ancestors. What we see is a starkly simplified vision of reality in general and of the Great American Pioneer Story in particular—forest wilderness, covered wagons, women in bonnets and long dresses, men in wide-brimmed flat hats and long beards. Stressing drawing over color and boasting the kinds of elisions and exaggerations of form associated with cartoons, the style here is immediately accessible. Chunky tubular bodies, heavy

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