February 2003, Philadelphia, PA – One of the most intellectually challenging and mysterious Philadelphia artists, Thomas Chimes exhibits his enigmatic white portraits and landscapes at Locks Gallery, February 28–April 5. Identifying strongly with his roots in Greek heritage and the French avant-garde, his timeless works are a blend of mysticism, memory and symbolism. This will be the third exhibition for four chronicling Chime’s distinguished artistic career.
Chime’s transition toward limiting color and mystifying the image started with his waterfall paintings in the late '70s. Gradually, all color disappeared making way for fields of grayish white described by Chimes as “emerging consciousness.” Most of the words on exhibit are painted by using only Mars black and titanium white paint, and at least 20 layers of glaze meticulously applied in horizontal strokes creating a blurred effect of the image.
The landscape series focuses on Philadelphia Memorial Hall in Fairmount Park as Chimes remembers it. Independent curator, Jane Livingston, observed a dream-like quality that takes its inspiration from childhood memory overlooking the Schuylkill River from an apartment window. As time progressed, the Hall faded away until it became a mere suggestion of a dome.
The portrait series depicts various Symbolist artists as variations of the Hermes archetype developed from his affinity for Greek mythology and magic. James Joyce, composer Eric Satie, and symbolist poet and personal hero Alfred Jarry are among his subjects. These white paintings grew out of another series of portraits Chimes painted in the 1970s, where many of the same modernist figures are chronicled and memorialized in small, dark portraits with hand-crafted frames.
Chimes' work is in museums across the U.S., including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Wadsworth Athenaeum in Hartford, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
Accompanying the exhibition is a fully-illustrated 65 page catalog with essay by Faye Hirsch.