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Anne Thompson, RectoVerso

Hudson Franklin Gallery
508 West 26th Street, Suite 318, 212-741-1189
September 12 - October 25, 2008
Reception: Friday, September 12, 6 - 8 PM
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Hudson Franklin is pleased to present “RectoVerso,” a solo exhibition by Anne Thompson.

Anne Thompson’s new body of work consists of painted objects, works on paper and a multiple. These function as icons, artifacts and texts for her fictive utopian group, the “Central Collective.” Inspired in part by American rural/mystic communities, this fictive enterprise adheres to a relativist philosophy that acknowledges the arbitrary nature of categories and opposites. Some influences include American folk art; early Modernism, specifically Bauhaus and Russian Constructivism; Hindu and Buddhist tantric diagrams; and psychedelia.

Thompson’s “RectoVerso” works are three-dimensional, papier-mâché painted objects that are reversible—each has two sides, but no distinguishable front or back. Each depicts a radiant, all-seeing eye on one side and has text around its circumference. The eyes refer simultaneously to Buddhism and American Transcendentalism and declare the object’s intention as a meditation device.

These works play with the art historical fetish of the “verso,” the back of a painting or drawing that is often undisclosed to all but the artist, the owner or an ³initiate² like an art historian. What if an artwork has no clear front or back, i.e., no verso? The “RectoVerso” objects offer a dilemma: The owner/exhibitor must decide which side to face forward, knowing one side will be hidden.

Thompson’s six works on paper and her artist’s book, “A Proposition for the Reversal of Opposites,” reflect on the futile yet persistent effort to systematize color. After an informal survey of systems within color theory, psychology and mysticism, she produced a core list of 88 words - emotions, values, actions, people and things - associated with 10 colors. Some color associations make intuitive sense (murder is “black”); others seem random (harmony is both “blue” and “orange”).

Each drawing is dominated by a concentric circle of color that corresponds to the handwritten text of associated words in alphabetical order below. Building upon the core list, Thompson’s limited-edition book with letterpress text and gouache paintings is a manifesto and guide for her “Central Collective.”
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