Michael Tompkins: Interview

Michael Tompkins, Plum Branch, Blizzard and a Sandy Cove 2012, oil on wood panel
Michael Tompkins, Plum Branch, Blizzard and a Sandy Cove 2012, oil on wood panel, 18 x 20 1/2 inches (courtesy of Paul Thiebaud Gallery)

Larry Groff interviews painter Michael Tompkins about his work and career.

Groff introduces Tompkins work noting: "What is remarkable about these paintings isn’t just the amazing technical skills in achieving these monumental structures but in how he makes it seem like it’s all such great fun. There is musicality in how intervals of placement, color notes and scale juxtapositions along the relentless horizontal and vertical thrusts that seem to mash up Bach fugues and Phillip Glass with Spike Jones and Captain Beefheart. Perhaps most of all I was enchanted by his color. The delights of color here isn’t just for it’s descriptive pitch accuracy, or even for the many satisfying moments where you feel the rightness of the sensations of one color plane vibrating against another. What got me most was the magic of feeling I was listening in on conversations between color groupings—how the reds and blues seemed to be speaking (or perhaps singing) in slightly different dialects of the same paint language, some mute or just whispering, other maniacally chatty, muttering or even yelling bloody murder—all which keeps your eye moving back and forth trying to figure out what it all means."