2017 DUMA Biennial artist, Jeffrey A. Thompson

Jeffrey A. Thompson, Des Moines, Iowa
Duchamp After Arcimboldo and Man Ray, 2016, pencil, 23 3/8 x 17 3/4

My current work is influenced by Baroque painting, with it’s exaggerated and theatrical tenebrism and heightened and dramatic emotional content. The implicit goal is to contemporize the Baroque method of painting with still-lifes whose subject matter are expressive of current tastes and commerce.

For example, many Baroque still-lifes were highly metaphorical and aspirational, consisting of flowers that were rare and seasonally out of sync. My floral still-lifes are just as opulent and not likely to occur together in nature, yet today they are readily available, thanks to international commerce. What they also have in common with their inspirations is that they are vanitas – reminders of beauty’s inevitable decay.