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Margot Voorhies Thompson
Russo Lee Gallery, Portland, Oregon
Recommendation by Richard Speer

Margot Voorhies Thompson, "Desert Sunrise, Borrego Springs," 2019, gouache and watercolor

Continuing through March 28, 2020

The gouache and watercolor paintings that comprise Margot Voorhies Thompson’s “Desert Light” take inspiration from the arid planes of south-central Oregon. Thompson spent time in Summer Lake, Oregon, during a 2017 residency at PLAYA, and the earth tones of that high-desert ecosphere inform works such as “Faraway Mountains, Across the Desert” and the spectacular “Desert Sunrise, Borrego Springs,” with its spokes of sunshine rising over a distant mountain.  


A subset of this body of work abandons landscape imagery for pure rectilinear abstraction. “Rock and Lichen Palette, Joshua Tree National Park” and “Stone and Lichen Palette, Warner Valley near Plush” channel Hans Hofmann-like push/pull, their planes of orange, yellow, brown and green receding and advancing in a checkerboard of glittering patchwork. “Tilted Desert” makes judicious use of negative space, cradling a highly graphical abstract composition in austere white. The paint is selectively excavated to impart a sensual surface texture. In these elegant works, Thompson deploys spartan geometry and muted chromaticism to evoke a powerful sense of place.

Russo-Lee Gallery

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