Thom Whalen - Painting & 3D
Thom Whalen was born in Hillsboro, IL in 1961 and currently lives and works in Springfield, IL. He earned a BA in painting and art history from Eastern Illinois University and an MFA in visual art from University of Kansas. His curiosity of art history has deeply influenced his painting practice, as he uses the model of art historical language as a way of embracing the poetry of symbolism and practice. Thom trained as a painter by assisting in the studios of Roger Shimomura and Richard Hamilton in the Kansas City area. His works have been exhibited throughout Seattle, including Henry Frye Museum, Smithsonian Institute, Thompson Gallery, Illinois State Museum Gallery and The Lockport Museum. His work has also been represented by galleries in San Francisco (CA), and Chicago (IL) and Seattle (WA). In addition to painting, Thom is a Professor of Art at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, IL.
"A race in the right direction with speed bumps along the way, I’ve pondered the cosmetic nature of the world, the minimum attention for change, rising inequality, the collapse of the blue collar-world, biofied nature, and domestic and global partnership. Closer to home, I’m appreciative for my liberties and worried about my fellow citizens, anxious about my children’s prospects and troubled by the gaps that divide our world. Strictly speaking, none of this has much to do with my speck of existence or reliable witness, which could reasonably fan the flames by visually addressing the contents that people seek out to escape such worries and anxieties. High art and popular entertainment, in their ironic diffusion, offer ephemeral havens and welcomed distraction. Their pleasures and comforts are not superficial, but essential. Art is the orbit of influence for solved problems, even if the problems are conventional and the solutions artifice.
As the subject of my work, Culture, as one subjectively sees it, buys and sells its position, whether as physical objects, fleeting dreamscapes, or altered artifacts. Their making requires labor, capital and a market for exchange. The link between artist and public is managed by the cultural industry (ten o’clock news, individual expression, aural creation, and Hollywood’s next big, much advertised fantasy). But the whole system, from top to bottom, is inescapably part of the proverbial canary in a coalmine – the American way.
And that truncated vision, in turn, provides an endless stream of subject matter for my work. Much as I hold suspect the efforts of today’s spin-doctors to explain the world and the intermittent efforts of elected officials to change it, I trust visionaries more. Not necessarily to be ethical or unimpeachable, or even consistent or coherent; not to instruct or illustrate, but rather, through the integrity and discipline they bring truth to making something new."
SAA Collective Gallery
420 South 6th Street
Springfield, IL 62701
Located in the H.D. Smith Gallery
In the Hoogland Center for the Arts
Tuesday - Wednesday 10 AM - 5 PM
Thursday - Saturday NOON - 7 PM
SAA Main Campus
School of Art (Studios),
Michael Victor II Art Library,
M.G. Nelson Family Gallery, and Edwards Place
700 North 4th Street
Springfield, IL 62702
Monday - Friday 9 AM - 5 PM
Saturday 10 AM - 3 PM