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Clifford Thompson
Painting Story

February 28–March 25, 2023
Opening reception: March 4: 5-8 pm

            Clifford Thompson is an African American artist (some have called him an outsider artist) whose work has been compared to that of Jacob Lawrence. The title “Painting Story” is meant to capture a feature of his work that a number of people have remarked on: the storytelling aspects of the paintings. (Thompson is the author of several books.) Many of the works seem to capture moments in ongoing narratives, stories whose plot points and outcomes the artist claims not always to know himself; he reasons that if he feels curious about the scene depicted, and enjoys thinking about what may be happening, perhaps others will, too.

            The title also has another meaning. Just as some of the individual paintings tell stories, the show as a whole tells a single story, that of the life of a person who draws sustenance from music, books, visual art, film, and family, beginning in childhood—a childhood that is represented here. Is the artist himself portrayed in the paintings? Not quite, though the paintings certainly draw on his own passions and experiences. Says Thompson: “The person is like me. Maybe the person is also like you?”

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