b'Storm TharpFinding New Forms of PortraitureCharlie TatumAt the heart of Tokyo-based artist Storm Tharps practice are the relationships between form and identity. Often using a mix of ink, pencil, and paint, Tharp creates portraits, sometimes literal, as with the face of a celebrity, an unknown sitter, or himselfand other times totally abstract, in an expressive wash of color evoking emotions welling up inside. Tharp is perhaps best known for his figurative drawings and paintings, which combine both hyperrealistic details and seemingly chaotic splashes of color and other breaks in the picture plane.The connection between these approaches is made clear in Cadre (2017), a collection of thirty-six works on paper arranged in a grid, with the images intermixing bust-like portraits and splashes of pink, blue, purple, and ochre. The works come across as an unlikely mix of Cubism and Color Field painting. Even when Tharps subjects are clearly human, he applies drips and smudges of color and combines multiple perspectives to present impressions of their moods and anxieties. In a 2010 interview, Tharp describes his interest in masks and outlines the ways that the visual presentation of faceswhether stoic and tidy, messy and anxious, or dotted with sickly blotches of dark inkcan give viewers a more full understand-ing of the characters underneath. 1His figures feel as if theyre in moments of transition, their appearances indicative of turbulent psychological states.Tharps nonfigurative work includes equally varied approaches, ranging from staid gradients and grids of color, like those in Heavens Door 1 and 2 (both 2015), to seemingly slapdash smears of ink. Taken together, Tharp here reminds us that representation and abstraction are not that dissimilar: at their core both are a combination of form and color. Swaths of ink and paint, then, are no less representational than a traditional portrait, each with its own sub-jectivity. Figurine (2017), a ten-part work made from ink and fabric dye, is entirely abstract, but its title hints at the power of marks and hues to embody or convey human feeling. For Tharp, depiction, whether representational or abstract, can take many forms, each as particu-lar as an individual emotional response.80'