by Edith Newhall
Locks Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of paintings and drawings by Thomas Chimes (1921–2009). Thomas Chimes: Symbolic Landscapes (1958–1962) will be on view April 20th through May 25th, 2012. There will be a public reception on Friday, April 20th, from 5:30 to 7:30pm. An illustrated catalog will accompany the exhibition.
Locks Gallery will present the artist's earliest mature body of work—landscape and crucifixion paintings—including the monumental Bread. These works have expansive and vividly colorful compositions filled with both abstracted symbols and recognizable imagery. These paintings will be accompanied by early drawings and studies that will be exhibited for the first time.
In 1952, Chimes embarked on a seven-month trip to Europe, traveling across Greece, Italy, the South of France, and Paris. His time in France was highly influential on his early paintings and drawings. The landscapes from 1958–59 reference Van Gogh’s wheat field paintings in yellows, purples, blues, and reds. Chimes’ slightly later Crucifix paintings and drawings incorporate clear-cut shapes that recall Matisse’s paper cutouts, inspired by his visit to the 1961 Matisse retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York as well as his trip to see Matisse's Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence.
These early works marked an important step in Chimes' career; in 1961 Alfred H. Barr Jr. acquired a painting for the Museum of Modern Art, as well as one for his personal collection. In addition Chimes would create his largest, and most ambitious paintings during this period, including Bread (1962), and culminating in his 7 foot tall by 18 foot wide Mural (1963–65).
Chimes was the subject of a retrospective at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2007. A number of the paintings shown in this presentation were included in the retrospective though this is the first time that these early drawings have been exhibited.
With a career spanning over five decades, the work of Thomas Chimes is in the collections of museums such as the Corcoran Museum of Art; Delaware Art Museum; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art; National Gallery of Art; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Phoenix Art Museum; Portland Art Museum; Smithsonian American Art Museum; Wadsworth Atheneum Art Museum and Yale University Art Gallery. He has exhibited at institutions such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, Ireland; The Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, PA; The Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX; and The National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.