Joan Thorne: Light, Layers, Insight

Joan Thorne: Light, Layers, Insight

February 1, 2020 - January 3, 2021

The Barry Art Museum is presenting its first temporary exhibition, featuring the complex chromatic work of American abstract painter Joan Thorne. This retrospective, organized by Museum staff, consists of 30 large-scale oil paintings on canvas spanning the artist’s career from the early 1970s to 2018.

Trained at New York University and Hunter College under Tony Smith in the 1960s, Thorne burst onto the New York art scene as one of the few women included in the 1972 Whitney Annual show. Solo exhibitions at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, DC, in the Dominican Republic, and in Puerto Rico followed.

Her instinctive approach to painting has always been energized by a strong sense of place during extensive travel and artist residencies that included a Prix de Rome awarded by the American Academy. Complex layering of shapes and patterns in bright colors characterizes her intuitive work. “It’s as if music is playing color,” remarked her friend and fellow New York artist Faith Ringgold.

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Large in scale, her paintings’ strong visual effects both come to greater focus and dissolve when seen up close. A challenge to be captured digitally and in print, they invite contemplation and demand to be seen in person.

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog with essays provided by Dr. Vittorio Colaizzi, associate professor of art at Old Dominion University, and Dr. Richard Vine, managing editor of Art in America Magazine. The catalog is published by the Museum, with a foreword by Dr. Jutta-Annette Page, Executive Director.

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