Opening this Saturday, January 11, Mark Moore Gallery will present: “Legends of the Mysterious Rocks,” a solo exhibition by the New York based artist Thomas Woodruff.
The exhibited paintings illustrate a single chapter of an ongoing larger body of work entitled “Francis Rothbart,” a graphic opera written by Woodruff. The protagonist of this epic is a feral child who was raised by magpies and repeatedly struck by lightning giving him eccentric talents which eventually cause him to destroy his homeland. In the chapter, “The Legends of the Mysterious Rocks,” from which the exhibition receives its name, the viewer is taken on a tour through fantastical landscapes of miracles and mysteries. Each image, painted with acrylic on linen, carries a particular sense that draws from Woodruff’s early experiences working in avant-garde theatre.
From the gallery press release: This picaresque saga unfolds in an allegorical environment, much like the topographical constructions behind renaissance religious paintings. Referencing both the Venetian landscapes of Bellini, Pierro di Cosimo and Carpaccio, mixed with the unlikely animated backdrops of Jay Ward and Chuck Jones, Woodruff’s images bring to mind the fictive gardens of a paradise lost that lingers somewhere deep in all our souls, moist and dark like the caves of the pious saints. Each scene transports us to a place in which trees anthropomorphize into figures bending from the weight of stalactite crowns, an iris becomes the gown for an oneiric sprite, and the sky rains down tears, as if mimicking the melancholy of a weeping willow. -David Molesky