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Exotic Matter: Nick Thomm’s show Tropic Glows at Castle Fitzjohns

Nick Thomm's arresting video projections

Nick Thomm’s arresting video projections

Some immediate impressions are conjured during a walk through Nick Thomm’s Tropic Glow: neon lights and bold patterns reference the early 90s current resurgence in popular culture, a Georgia O’Keefe motif makes a cleverly re-imagined appearance, and religious iconography clashes with pop culture. Despite the obvious range of clashing styles, the wealth of materials and process featured in the exhibit does not disappoint. From skateboard decks to high-def (almost holographic) visual projections, Nick doesn’t miss a beat. The show never feels cluttered, or stale, even though it easily could. It manages to evoke (without heavy lifting from) influences ranging from Pop art, to postmodern, to– the entire color scheme of Miami Vice?

Tropic Glows' opening night at Castle Fitzjohns

Tropic Glows’ opening night at Castle Fitzjohns

Furious mixing of styles and themes combine in Tropic Glow, from the banal to the sacred, the familiar to the unimaginable. A healthy amount of bling updates such staid but varied subjects as dinosaurs, Rio’s Christ the Redeemer statue and ancient Greek statuary busts in the videos. What could pass for an ordinary silk scarf at Macy’s morphs instead into three silk pieces, titled Waves, that seem to both continue and break apart patterns that feel familiar and exotic. Giant plexiglass creations play host to a chainsaw, among other subjects. My personal favorite piece, Retina, features a girl’s head,; alluring yet distant, the intimacy of has been portrait denied by the substitution of an anonymous print in place of any recognizable features.

Faces contrast in pieces by Nick Thomm

Faces contrast in pieces by Nick Thomm

This newest set of work by Nick shows that good art doesn’t stand still, it advances previously held notions of how art is created and what it is presenting. Tropic Glows is honestly worth a visit for the video projections (lower level) alone. It also manages to turn the art world’s fear of the commercial object or mass-produced material into a vision for how these items can be formatted to present new ideas, rather than solidify media messages. The medium is the message in many ways, yet the artist never takes himself too seriously. Actually, it may be best if you show up in a Hawaiian shirt with a margarita machine, sipping a frozen concoction just before closing time at the gallery while standing before the show’s title in bright neon lights at the back of the room.

Waves, triptych in silk by Nick Thomm

Waves, triptych in silk by Nick Thomm

Tropic Glows run at Castle Fitzjohns gallery on the LES at 98 Orchard Street until Nov 18, 2014.



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