Kim Thoman



Kim Thoman creates paintings that combine the artistís hand and digital images. These two modes of working reflect her interest in the dynamic of dualities, such as nature and culture, the mechanical and the organic, life and death.

Thoman was born in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1949, and grew up with an interest in the arts, which was encouraged by her mother. She went on to study ceramics at the University of California, Davis and transferred to Berkeley, where she studied painting and drawing, receiving her BA in 1972. Thoman sees her work at Berkeley as the start of her major interest in both two and three-dimensional work, and ultimately combining them. She did her graduate work in ceramics at San Francisco State University, but when she graduated with an MFA in 1979 she began to paint, and considers herself a self-taught painter.

Thomanís work has developed in distinct phases, each of which contain elements of her current body of work. While in graduate school, she produced for her final exhibition a series of drawing/paintings with attached intestine-like forms. In the early 1980s, Thoman created hard-edged paintings with cartoonlike images of men and women. In the two-panel paintings of the 1990s, the two sides were treated as independent entities, because, in the artistís words, ďeach side was to hold its own....each side was informed by a different side of myself.Ē

In the Motion series of chalk drawings from 2001-2002, Thoman developed many of the visual ideas that she would use over the next decade. There is the combination of mechanical and the natural, and the use of the spiral, the circular portal, and shell-like forms. With the Spiral series of 2003 Thoman began to use the computer. She drew linear vortexes on the computer and outputted them on paper on which she painted layered, surreal images that seem inspired both by nature and inner states of feeling.

Thoman considers the Tangled Witness series a more realized use of ďthe computer as mark makerĒ. These paintings feature densely impacted passages with a variety of organic and abstract motifs that open up to reveal stylized drawing done on the computer. This work lead to the Pod Series, with its juxtaposition of a computer generated image, an illusion of three-dimensional form, and a painted abstract domain in the adjacent panel. The current Venus Series, uses a similar form, but here strongly suggesting a paleolithic fertility statuette paired with a large painted panel evocative of the desert landscape.

Travel has played a formative role in Thomanís art. Each summer for the past fifteen years she has traveled to different locations to work, including New Mexico, Vermont, and Virginia, with each site having a specific effect on her paintings. Thomanís work has been in many solo exhibitions including Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, VA, JFK University, Orinda, CA, Stanford Art Spaces, Palo Alto, CA, Oakopolis Gallery, Oakland, CA, and Monterey Peninsula College, Monterey, CA, Bank of America World Headquarters, San Francisco, CA.

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