exhibitions - of this world

Tom Green: Of This World

March 31 - April 21, 2012
Opening Reception: Saturday, March 31, 6:30 - 8 pm

Tom Green: Of This World

Curator's Office is pleased to present a body of work by influential American artist and Washington, DC legend, Tom Green. Of This World presents 8 of the last works on paper that the artist made in 2011, prior to being diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). The suite is a lyrical compendium of the glyphic work the artist is so well-known for. A horizon line unites the entire body of work, but his continued preoccupation with the semiotics of symbolic form is lucid, restrained, and powerful. The exhibition is presented as a deliberately informal "studio view" and will be accompanied by a broadside written by artist, curator, and art critic J.W. Mahoney.

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read the exhibition essay by JW Mahoney

Tom Green began working with the glyph forms in the late sixties, while he was taking Pre-Columbian courses. He says, "Studying the Mayan culture, I was struck by the glyphic carvings and drawings that seemed so inventive yet puzzling. So I began writing notes in a glyphic script to my friends, not copying the Mayan forms but trying to create my own forms that would resonate in a contemporary mind. Around 1987, casting about for a new direction, I tried painting a canvas covered with glyphs. It looked promising! The glyphs are not a language. (I try not to repeat forms) but rather a series of discreet forms that are to be interpreted individually. Most are not abstract but derive from the sensory experiences of daily life."

In his catalog introduction for a 2010 Tom Green retrospective exhibition at the Katzen Art Center, American University Museum director Jack Rasmussen explains, "He has staked out his own artistic territory, inside his well-informed, highly original imagination. But, like all significant artists, his art is not only a private pleasure, a dialogue with himself. It has relevance across time and space. We understand signs on a pre-linguistic level. They show us where we are and where we are going, if we can only bring our emotional intelligence to bear."

Tom Green experienced early success in his career and had works in prestigious shows at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. Despite this, he continued to devote himself to making art rather than chasing fame. "This made him almost an 'underground' artist that young and old audiences in the know followed and respected," Rasmussen said. "He is very knowledgeable about the contemporary art world, but he follows his own muse, not the writers in ARTFORUM."

Born in Newark, N.J. in 1942, Tom Green grew up in the Washington, D.C. area. After earning a B.A. and a M.A. in Painting at the University of Maryland, Green went on to teach for forty years at the Corcoran College of Art + Design in Washington, D.C. and where he is presently a Professor Emeritus of Fine Art. Tom Green has exhibited in many solo and group exhibitions in the United States and abroad. These include the 1975 Whitney Biennial, Nineteen Americans at the Guggenheim Museum, the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, The Kreeger Museum, the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art.

Recent solo exhibitions include: Tom Green: Accident & Intent at the Katzen Center for the Arts, American University Museum; Point of View at Civilian Art Projects, and Inventory at George Mason University. Green has received two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award, and residency fellowships at the Vermont Studio Center and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

His work is in the collections of the Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD; The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; The Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, DC; The American University Museum, Washington, DC, The Artery Group, Bethesda, MD; Instituto Cultural Peruano Norteamericano, Lima, Peru; D.C. Public Library, Washington, DC; The Washington Post, Washington, DC; KPMG Consulting, Washington, DC; The John Wilson Building Collection, Washington, DC.

Tom Green CV

image above: Tom Green, Of This World 5, 2011, acrylic on paper, 29.75" x 22.25"