Colin Thomson 1 2 3 bio


1949, London , England

Yale University , New Haven , Connecticut , MFA, 1977
New York Studio School , New York , New York, 1972-1975
Skowhegan School of Art, Skowhegan , Maine , 1974
Lake Forest College , Lake Forest , Illinois , BA, 1971

National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, 1991-1992

2003 100 Broadway, New York , New York
1992 Nina Freudenheim Gallery, Buffalo , New York
1992 Projects Room, David Beitzel Gallery , New York , New York
1991 Lieberman & Saul Gallery , New York , New York
1989 Lieberman & Saul Gallery , New York , New York
1987 Nina Freudenheim Gallery, Buffalo , New York
1986 Winston Gallery , Washington , D.C.

2006 Two Friends And So On, Andrew Kreps Gallery , New York
2006 Everywhichway, Edward Thorp Gallery , New York , NY
2002 ART DOWNTOWN, curated by Richard Marshall New York , New York
2001 Group Show, Senior & Shopmaker , New York , NY
2000 Conversation Exhibition, Art Materials, New York , NY
1999 Summer, Art Materials, New York , New York
1998 Group Show, Vedanta Gallery, Chicago , Illinois
1998 Project Space, Art Materials, New York , New York
1997 Santa Fe Art Fair, Art Materials, New York , New York
1997 Gramercy Park Art Fair, Art Materials, New York , NY
1997 Fixed/Unfixed, Art in General, New York , New York
1997 Purely Painting, Elizabeth Harris Gallery , New York , NY
1995 Coming to Form, MMC Gallery , New York , New York
1995 Works for a Fun House, E.S. Vandam, New York , NY
1994 Directions in American Abstraction: A New Decade, Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Loretto , Pa.
1993 Yale Collects Yale, Yale Art Gallery , New Haven , Ct.
1992 On Paper, Lieberman & Saul Gallery , New York , NY
1991 Nina Freudenheim Gallery, Buffalo , New York International Sculpture Center , Washington , D.C.
1987 One Penn Plaza , Penn Plaza , New York , New York
1985 Getler, Paul, Sapir Gallery , New York , New York Drawings, Barbara Toll Gallery , New York , New York
1984 Tom Kendall Gallery , New York , New York
1983 Art on Paper, Weatherspoon Art Gallery , Greensboro , NC
1983 Cirrus Gallery, Los Angeles , California
1982 Acquisitions: Works on Paper, The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo , New York
1982 3:1, Tibor de Nagy Gallery , New York , New York
1981 Recent Abstraction, Bard College , Annandale on Hudson , New York
1981 Thomson/ Pondick, Art Galaxy, New York , New York
1981 Summer News, Droll/Kolbert Gallery, New York , New York Drawings for the Serious Collector, Guild Hall, East Hampton , New York
1980 Two Dimensions, Guilford College , Greensboro , NC

Albright-Knox Art Gallery
Richard Armstrong
Centro Culturale, Arte Contemporaneo , Mexico City
Chase Manhattan Bank
Chemical Bank
Equitable Life Assurance Society
Grey Art Gallery , New York University
M & T Bank
National Madison Group
Weatherspoon Art Gallery
Wilkie, Farr & Gallagher

2006, Chelsea is a Battlefield, Galleries Muster Groups, Roberta Smith, The New York Times, July 28, 2006 p. 27/33
2006 This Way.. That Way, Mario Naves, The New York Observer, July 23, 2006
2006, Image, The New York Sun, July 19, 2006 p. 14
1998 Ship Shape, Pilar Viladas , New York Times Magazine, July 26, 1998 , pp. 38-39.
1996 Between Artists, A.R.T. Press, 12 Contemporary American Artists, pp. 241-249.
1992 Andrew Spence Interviewed by Colin Thomson, A.R.T. Press, pp. 1-46.
1991 Justin Spring , Review, Art Forum, Summer 1991, p. 113.
1991 Elizabeth Licata, The Other Side of Summer, The Buffalo News, July 5, 1991 , p. 27.
1988 Richard Huntington, Review, The Buffalo News, May 6, 1988, p. 24.
1987 Richard Huntington, Review, The Buffalo News, June 9, 1987, p. 11.
1983 William Wilson, Review, The Los Angeles Times, June 24, 1983, Section 4, p. 10
1983 Modern Works on Paper, Albright-Knox Newsletter, March 1983, p. 1
1982 Virginia Butera, Review, Arts Magazine, April 1982, p. 17.
1981 Ruth Bass, Review, Art News, April/May 1982, p. 168.
1980 Carrie Rickey, Centerfold, The Village Voice, June 23, 1980



The most important skills for an artist are clear thinking and a sense of humor. Without either, developing a compelling image becomes a risky occupation full of missed opportunities and false starts. On a fresh canvas, the initial excitement of endless possibilities can overwhelm one’s overall sense of purpose. Too many ideas make for crowded pictures with missed connections and competing impulses. Conversely, a successful painting has a dynamic and singular form generated by the exact and visible decisions that have brought it together.

Drawing is the map room for my work. I make a lot of them looking for subjects and settings. Like writing, it’s a spontaneous medium that produces immediate results, making it the easiest way to move through an idea. The current agenda mixes graphic, pattern and world art sources. Subjects include skewed color registration, Islamic tiles, transparency, water, African textiles, and architectural plans.

With drawing in hand, next up is watercolor; a what if. What if this were blue? What if the ground were pink? There’s more in play here once you leave the white page of the drawings. How much information is needed to develop a believable structure, or how that structure can be built out of color are normal questions that I answer in an intuitive way. Color choices are also suggested by other work going on in the studio. Most pictures go through some torque between figure and ground, line and contour before a palate develops with just enough of each color to produce light.

When I’m set to go, the paintings block in directly from the watercolors. I try to work all over, keeping the canvas in one time zone. The oil medium, canvas support and enlarged format give the painted image a different character from the initial paper studies. And, a good study doesn’t always translate into a good painting. The question then is a specific why not. Sometimes you can paint through a problem. In other instances, I’m back on paper looking for new approaches. Inspiration often appears under pressure. When they work, the paintings create their own location, a meditative and natural parallel to the world I’m experiencing. In each, and through the whole process, there’s a search for a voice, a context for the individual parts, joining thought and action, material and idea.

Colin Thomson