Essay~ Ian F. Thomas


Catalog Essay
Ian F. Thomas [2015]

Considering the breadth and differentiation of styles in Thomas’ work, one may find convenient a conceptual handrail with which to navigate his variegated research and production processes. Predominantly, there is a need to make apparent the invisible roles of cultural production, both of the laborer and the artificiality of the desired object.

The revelation of labor in a piece such as “Please Excuse the Mess” echoes a Marxist concern for socialist, cultural labor, yet we find in works such as “Western Commodities” a dismissive cannibalization of current cultural values. Hand-grinding tourist ceramics into a media from which the artist may transform the generic, machine-produced banality into a clumsy, historical approximation of an amphora collapses our shallow desires for banal commodities into a revalued process of individual effort. Yet, these objects Thomas makes, alternatingly polished plaything for our unconsidered desires or as raw, transparent revelations of effort, embrace a deconstructionist’s need to reveal gaps, flaws, and the distance between the human and the production of the object.

Confronting this widening disconnection of reality from desire Thomas apes simian pomposity by declaring the Internet as a sentient entity in “Art for Internet as Viewer,” conveniently absolving society of our inchoate taste. Such a grand anthropomorphized cultural puissance must be inviolate in aesthetics: a patron needing it’s myriad desires reflected. In so doing, Thomas confirms the artist’s role as cogent laborer for the domineering zeitgeist.

~ Ryder Richards [2015]