Artist Spotlight: Storm Tharp

Join SOU Senior Tyler Noland for an introduction to the work of Storm Tharp one the artists in the Hallie Ford Fellows in the Visual Arts exhibition ‘What Needs to Be Said: Hallie Ford Fellows in the Visual Arts’. This exhibition will be on view on the Schneider Museum of Art’s website during the Winter of 2021.

There is something intoxicating about the way ink combines with paper, which is something 2014 Hallie Ford Fellow Storm Tharp is very familiar with. An Oregon native, Tharp has spent the last several years in Japan. His artwork has changed and morphed over his career, matching the evolution of the human experience as one’s life changes with the ebbs and flows of different periods. Tharp is one of the thirteen artists featured in the Schneider’s virtual winter exhibition What Needs to be Said: Hallie Ford Fellows in the Visual Arts, as well as a participant in the Creative Industries Discussion series currently held via zoom.

Tharp’s work in the winter exhibition entitled Cadre, is a collection of thirty-six ink works on paper arranged in a grid style. Best known for his figurative drawings and paintings which combine hyper realism and splashes of color created with ink, this exhibition is an example of how his work has evolved and grown out of that place. While Tharp’s style and mediums have changed over the years, his work tends to come back to portraiture, and this collection is no exception. The thirty-six rectangles alternate between open spaces influenced by different colored ink, and abstractionist portraits which seem to have an intimate relationship with the space around them. This work steps away from hyper realism, capturing instead the depth and character of the figures in his portraits. Cadre captures emotions rather than realism, evoking a mood in viewers which is less easily explained. Each face holds a narrative, a narrative which seems to even bleed out beyond the edges of the page.

This exhibition is a champion of mood and form, capturing an imperfect kind of clarity which feels more honest and human. Tharp is an artist who challenges his work to never get stuck. His paintings have even diverged further from this exhibition in even more recent collections. This desire to always keep moving and evolving seems to get caught on the page, giving narrative to paintings, and creating portraits worthy of spending time with.

Tharp is the third artist featured in the winter exhibition’s creative industries discussion series, speaking on Thursday February 18th, 2021 at 12:30pm PST. The creative industries discussions give further insight to the artist’s work and practice, as well as providing an opportunity for community questions. This series is now being held via zoom due to COVID-19 safety and restrictions.

The Winter Exhibition What Needs to Be Said: Hallie Ford Fellows in the Visual Arts will be available to view virtually on the Schneider Museum of Art’s website until March 6, 2021.

Tyler Noland is a senior Creative Writing major at Southern Oregon University. She is originally from the Bay Area, and this is her third year at the Schneider Museum of Art. While not working on her writing she enjoys making collages with vintage magazines.