Lenore Thomas
Perception and personal observation provide the foundation for my most recent “landscape series,” which consists of mixed-media prints and paintings based on recreating the observed landscape through layers of overlapping abstract shapes. Grounded in pastoral midwestern topography, the series has grown to include rural sites of Western Pennsylvania, Maryland, Tennessee, and West Virginia. As I travel from one location to another I photograph the landscapes that capture my interest. In general I am intrigued by landscapes that have an ambiguous sense of space, scale, distance and depth. Through my sketches, Photoshop experimentation, and color choices, I translate the landscapes into basic shapes and forms creating a flat, geometric interpretation of the original photograph. The fexibility of printmaking fosters this investigation; through multiple plate etchings and screenprinting I can build an image with a dozen or more layers in one piece. I am interested in the tension between the flat colors I choose and the sense of space and perspective created by the abstracted forms.

Two other elements also come into play - the background pattern and the choice of a title of each series. The backgrounds have evolved from the first series in 2011 which were based on either aesthetic preferences or patterns extracted or documented at actual locations (a grate in Pittsburgh, fragments from Missouri and Oklahoma). For the most recent backgrounds I am interested in the mathematical diagram of a hepteract, which represents three-dimensional images of a seven cube. For some, this pattern may be seen as purely decorative, but to others (especially mathematicians) the patterns reveal complex geometric representations of volume and space. Upon seeing the hepteract and other hypercubes, it became clear to me that these diagrams added another layer of perception to my landscapes. The carefully selected titles for this series have become an essential part of my process, as I want the text to have some specific, if non-literal, reference to the locations I am depicting. Recalling the comment of a friend on a particular sunrise he saw in Wisconsin - “This sunrise is like being in love” – I use his poetic response as an evocative title in combination with the specific to create an entry point for the abstracted images.