David Thorpe: A Meeting of Friends

David Thorpe, Good People, 2002, mixed media collage, 75 x 99 cm, courtesy Maureen Paley, London

April 7 - August 13, 2006

This exhibition will be David Thorpe's first solo museum exhibition in the United States and will introduce New England audiences to this young London artist's intricately constructed cut-paper landscapes. With their unbridled visionary imagery and earnest hand-built materiality, Thorpe's collages (which sometimes include pieces of veneer, dried flowers, bark, leather, glass, pebbles or slate) are unique among contemporary images. Although trained in painting and photography, Thorpe turned to this traditional technique (one that is rarely seen in the context of art today and more often relegated to areas of the decorative arts), in part, as a strategy to distance his work from the immediate history and conceptual “burden” of modernist painting.

Thorpe's intimately scaled images often depict dramatic, imaginary landscapes that are loosely based on representations of the American West—scenes of wilderness not experienced firsthand by Thorpe but inspired by the literary and visual accounts of others. These become the settings for futuristic architectural dwellings—bunkers, watchtowers, trailers—that suggest both loneliness, self-sufficiency, and solitude. Exhibited amidst a group of historic American landscapes he selected from the Museum's painting collection, Thorpe's images offer a compelling re-interpretation of the “visionary” and the “sublime” for the 21st century.

See the Gallery Guide to learn more about the exhibition.

David Thorpe is represented by Maureen Paley in London. Learn More

This project is supported by the Don and Mary Melville Contemporary Art Fund. Additional generous support provided by Marlene and David Persky, Linda and John Nelson, Jean McDonough, and Worcester Magazine.

Related Events

Artist Talk and Reception: David Thorpe
Thursday, April 6, 6:30PM
Meet British artist David Thorpe and hear about his process for creating his visionary landscapes made of intricately cut paper then tour his exhibition in the Contemporary gallery. Reception follows artist talk. Free with Museum admission.

Select Images from the Exhibition