Lydia Thompson at LHUCA

Lydia Thompson’s “Repositioning Pathways” opened this December First Friday in the John F. Lott Gallery at LHUCA. The Texas Tech School of Art director’s floor and wall sculpture, some nearly 40 inches high, show her remarkable expertise in crafting ceramic. The floor sculptures are figurative forms of tribal sculptures whose realistically formed faces show African and southeast Asian features. The bodies sometimes represent only a torso and sometimes full torso, arms, and legs stray into distinctly expressionistic abstraction.

The earliest manifestations expressionism drew heavily from African tribal art, seeking a return to the vivid, dynamic style of art making that had largely drained from the naturalist tradition of continental Europe. Thompson brings this full-circle, creating a set of forms neither tribal nor Expressionistic as such, but drawing heavily from both.

She presents a synthesis of forms that is quintessentially contemporary—only possible after Danto’s “end of art.” In these ceramic forms, she does little to stylize the facial features of each character, leaving this for the torso; the result is an image of a human set atop the history of expression and culture that made him. The cultural context of each is different from the others, but they form a sophisticated whole.

"Repositioning Pathways" is on view in the John F. Lott Gallery @LHUCA until December 19th, 2016. The author's opinions are his own. Photos courtesy of Ashley Webb.

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