Gerard de Thame

Riverside Studios

On nights when it is too hot to sleep, you might get up and pour yourself a drink or try to write letters or just watch the curtains blowing against the window frames. Outside, other dwellings are full of people sleeping or pacing too. It becomes harder to concentrate as tiredness sets in. The furniture starts to look odd. Shadows mystify corners you thought you knew. Feeling not entirely safe nor fully in control gives that feeling a special savor.

In “Through the Night,” 1984, a series of large black and white paintings by Gerard de Thame, semidarkened interiors come to resemble film noir sets strewn with props as problematic as whodunit clues. If, after all, emptiness itself comes to seem suspicious, this may be a function of the technique. Applying only black paint over the gleam of the paper below, de Thame makes certain objects seem to glow from within, like that famous glass of milk

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