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Biography Exposures Tom Perkinson
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Tom Perkinson

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Artist's Statement:

For me, painting is a journey into the unknown. By this, I mean that I never know what the painting will look like until it is complete. It is a process of searching, finding, developing, selecting, and adding and subtracting, and all the time striving to keep my mind open for anything new to happen. So each painting is an adventure.

I call this style of painting Visionary. It has its roots in surrealism which I explored in the 1960's, 70's and 80's. In these paintings, I investigate Southwestern subject matter, including Native American art, sand paintings, pottery, weavings, Kachina figures, and the bright colors and drama of Native American dances and ceremonies. I simply start a painting with washes of color and let it develop into what it becomes, all the while participating in an intuitive mode, allowing a "state of flow" to occur as I paint. I am looking for figures to appear, and as I find them, I develop them in a chosen direction. The central theme of this work is figurative, and there is always a dominant figure or figures that the painting is woven around.

I see my Visionary paintings as an exploration of universal spirituality and an investigation into the balance of nature. I strive to create the personification of a spirit, or mythical being, reflecting my fascination with the Native American culture, whose beliefs and rituals inspire and move me. The Native American concept that everything is connected is significant and mysterious ways fascinates me, and is a concept I am continually integrating into these works. I believe this work is mainly about balance and harmony. I usually allude to symmetry, but the imagery is not absolutely symmetrical. I am concerned with achieving a harmonious balance between sharp edges, geometric forms, very loose organic areas, and the central figure. I integrate geometric shapes, mainly the circle and parts of it, the triangle, along with pictographs, hands arrows, spirals, and many other archetypal symbols that humankind has used throughout its cultural history. Although these symbols that I choose to use have an universal appeal, they have a personal significance to me that develops during the painting process, and they are altered by my internal imagination.

What I hope to accomplish with each painting that I create is to give the viewer a glimpse of a spiritual world. All of mankind shapes in this spiritual world, whether we are consciously aware of it or not. I know that I am connecting to a vast spiritual and creative energy when I am painting. When I can communicate that energy to the viewer, then I believe the painting is complete.

The paintings are multilayered and saturated with color, a visual feast to me. With the rich colors and the discovery of familiar forms among the abstract elements, I strive to create mystery that becomes convincing to the viewer. One can step into this world, and investigate his or her own imagination, subconscious, and spiritual reality.

These paintings have a compelling sense of drama. They are about things that are important, but they cannot be explained in their entirety with mere words. I want an air of mystery and discover to remain, so I prefer to say as little as possible about them. I'd like the viewer to experience something new within themselves as they embark on a journey of discovery while contemplating my paintings. In this sense, the paintings will never grow old, because there will always be new things to discover in them.

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