Monday, April 2, 2012

The Essence of Manifestation: The Abstractions of Heidi Thompson

By James D. Campbell
Canadian Art Critic, Curator and Writer

"The progression of a painter's work as it travels in time from point to point, will be toward clarity.. toward the elimination of all obstacles between the painter and the idea.. and the idea and the observer.. To achieve this clarity is inevitably to be understood." -- Mark Rothko

It is a rare phenomenon to experience abstractions that speak directly to the heart. No word of representation, but the idiom is immediately and immanently understood. Not as a panacea for existential conditions outside of painting, but of an intrinsically healing art that values clarity above all else.

Claude Tousignant, one of Canada's premier abstractionists, has often spoken of his insistent desire to create paintings that are objects in their own right. He wants to void all referents to a world outside paintings that are made to induce sensation alone. Indeed, for him, the sovereign thinghood of a painting

Is the only signification worth fighting for. Well, his remark resonates when we spend time with Heidi Thompson's resplendent new work. But her paintings are far from mute or self-contained objects, and are not predicated upon emptying out all references to the external world. Instead, they seem [to] irradiate the void with something is palpably Mind, and well, simply are.
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