Thom Wright at the Huntington Beach Art Center

February 1, 2022       Randall Holbrook

SCA member, Thom Wright, Showing at the Huntington Beach Art Center

In the "Centered on the Center", an open art show currently presented at the Huntington Beach Art Center, Thom Wright has two paintings from his recent series, "In Balance with Nature".  The entire show of over 250 works is also shown online at their website, under the "Current Exhibition" tag. The paintings are shown below, followed by his Art Statement for the series and a more detailed description of each composition.


Big trees and large forests have long inspired humans beyond the utilitarian resources they provide.  Their spirit is uplifting; some becoming massive, towering and long-lived wonders of great strength.  They thrive with earth, water and sun, and they benefit man and the environment.  Symbolically they join the earth with the sky.  Yet now less than 25% of the earth’s forests remain, and many are in environmental stress from climate change that brings higher temperatures, drought, disease and forest fires. 

Choosing trees and forests in stress as my metaphor for the growing apocalypse of climate change emphasizes our collective dependence on nature for survival, that both man as the dominant species must search for and attain a global balance, in contrast with our present dominance of the earth’s resources and excessive pollution/destruction of nature. It cannot keep up with the pace of human impact on the environment. It is complex, diverse and dynamic itself, multiple ecosystems over the breadth of land, oceans and atmosphere, as well as populated with the great diversity of creatures, plants and the gamut of life.

In my geometric, somewhat expressive painting style, I paint abstract landscapes of line, form and space, on hardwood panels. These surfaces sometimes carry their own patterns, and they have their own way of influencing lines, colors and brush marks.  My goal is to create a spatial environment of balance and exchange, of patterns, rhythms and relationships, of parts that make the whole.  Just as many contemporary artists make compositions of pictorial, dynamic forces in balance, I make paintings to inspire man’s pursuit of balance with nature.  I believe that only by achieving this balance can climate change be overcome.

Two Paintings Discussion

It is immediately apparent that both of these abstract paintings relate to trees and their interchange with the atmosphere.  In painting on the hardwood panels, several areas reveal the knot holes embedded in the hardwood painting surface.  These circular tree rings are the "natural expression" in the wood panels of their life and growth process.  Of course, trees breathe through their leaves by capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air and combine those molecules with water (H2O) and sun to generate its cellulose, and also produce oxygen (O2) that is released back into the air. Thus, preserving and increasing the total number of trees in the world helps to reduce the impact of mankind's ever-increasing consumption and associated production of greenhouse gases.

 In my painting, the geometric shapes at the bottom represent the trees of the earth. Rising from them are shapes and lines rising into the atmosphere above, suggesting this interchange in nature.  The atmospheric layers are mixed with a growing level of CO2 that is heating the planet and its consequent increase in melting ice caps, rising ocean levels, and violent weather with hotter temperatures.

My abstract paintings are not intended to be evocative of climate change, but to emphasize that man and nature must attain an organic balance of all of our processes of modern civilization.  In addition, they must also present an effective artistic composition that is in my own style, combining colors, shapes, lines and textures, with movements and rhythms in a dynamic stability, as are the esthetic goals of contemporary art.

Thom Wright

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