Monday 23 May 2016

Thompson Hall, Home Away from Home: Review

There are many opportunities to experience culture and art in Brighton. However, that doesn’t mean the quality and innovation of new works ever falters, a case in point being the raw emotion showcased in Thompson Hall’s latest paintings now being shown at Regency Town House.

The paintings showcase Hall’s feelings about the claustrophobia of London, in comparison to the open spaces and sea air of Brighton. His observational sketches are presented on the top floor and we can see his thought process as he decides what to emphasise in his abstract, colourful works. The use of various sizes of canvas shows the dedication taken to make every ‘home’ imagined, unique, allowing us to gravitate to the ones we feel are like our own homes, especially as the Regency Town House is empty. We want to find the home Regency Town House cannot provide.   

A motif of windows symbolises a portal into, and out of, these other homes. Large, various windows of the yellow-stained homes are reminiscent of the community only just outside, whilst tentacles forcing themselves through windows in other paintings, is haunting. Homes are sometimes only houses: they can be places of fear, of sadness, and the sheer mass of paintings on display makes you realise these two terms could switch at any moment. The paintings are seemingly unfinished, with white patches towards the bottom of some and brush strokes obvious, but this only adds to the abstract nature of these houses, reminding us that everyone in the room around us will relate to one of them, making us appreciate our own lives (or the desire to dream about a window we want to go through). He commented at last nights ‘In Conversation’ event at the Old Market, that this was an especially rewarding commission as this year’s theme of ‘Home’ was his most ambiguous project yet.It can be proudly said that the artist truly explores the term (and proves his worth), making us ponder as to what exactly turns a house into a home.

Thompson’s Halls artwork, along with the other two commissioned works, are open now until 29th May in various locations. The full brochure for the festival can be found here, whilst the most recent updates can be found on Twitter, through #ThompsonHall, @HOUSE_Festival, and @OutsideIn_UK. The piece is part of the HOUSE 2016 Visual Arts Festival, which has been running since 2008 with the aim of offering commissions for contemporary artists (and for the public to experience more contemporary art too). This year saw a collaboration with Outside In, who provide a platform for artists who normally face barriers to the art world for a wide variety of reasons. Through Outside In, Thompson Hall, as someone with a learning disability, was commissioned for this work.

Thankyou to Laurence Hill for editing.

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