Thom Bierdz (Artwork Provided By)
“2005 Emerging Artist of the Year, Los Angeles”
What emerges from his personal journey onto the canvas is at times heartbreaking, haunting and profoundly affecting. Thom’s body of work ultimately proves to be an uplifting and inspiring experience of transcendence, a compelling testimony on the resilience of the human spirit.
Contradictory strategies for painting has quickly become Bierdz’s hallmark. Although he uses the same touch throughout, it can at times appear to be a number of different voices, even personalities. The reluctance to lay claim to a fixed position might at one time have been attributed to youth but it is clearly now an integral aspect of Bierdz methodology. Nothing is by chance. Even when the form appears to be a sort of free association, that’s really his expertise in terms of handling paint. The process is at times extremely rigorous and other times purely subconscious.
His paintings prove cunningly hard to pin down. One painting might be purely decorative abstraction; another an architectural interior or a figurative work. A single landscape might contain the following; asymmetrical branches that engulf a whimsical cabin, naïve animals that refer to Henri Rousseau’s paintings, atmospheric washes that evoke Rothko’s use of vivid color and bold strokes of shapes that seem to pay homage to Matisse. Whether it is a yellow-green wash over a woman in a chair or the mystical atmosphere of a moonlit landscape or storybook houses, it is a lyrical arrangement of elements that flips between symbolism, impressionism and abstract patterning. Bierdz is masterful at establishing tension between the decorative mark and recognizable imagery.
In the end, the artist allows the work to speak for itself. The very thing that takes our breath away, his diversity, his range, this combination of charm and sometimes harsh reality, are the same avenues we all walk. He holds a sort of universal mirror, as if to dare us to look at ourselves, and with a bold conviction and honesty, embrace all of who we are.