Critics


Rosie’s Critical Reviews and Press Releases: 2000s, 1990s, 1980s, 1970s

2000s

Blue Greenberg: Critic for The Herald Sun, Durham, NC, January, 2017

Contrasting Visions At DAG Show  from “Sense of Scene”, four solo shows:

“Thompson’s wood paintings are three-dimensional and some are traditional wall paintings. They are meticulously fashioned, each cut out piece fitting exactly into it’s prescribed place. The figures are in silhouette and most include the symbolic skeleton and tick marks, used perhaps for counting days or baskets of produce. The sculptural images have wings made like doors and are open so the visitor can become part of the scene. In one, young girls swing from a house-like structure. In another, a figure carries something heavy on his shoulders, a collaged element of a marketplace is added to the top, a woman walks past a body on the ground. There is no question these vignettes take place on some tropical island and, in her statement, Thompson explains some of her influences. She was born in Ybor City, the Latin Quarter of Tampa, Florida, with a cultural mix of  Lebanese, Cuban, Spanish, Italian and Anglo. She writes that her narratives are personal as she tries to metaphorically deal with her cultural identities while writing and honoring her grandmothers and ancestors into “History/Herstory”.

Ann Rowles, Artist and President of WCAGA, reports for WCAGA, Atlanta, GA, 2007

Rosie Thompson (Hillsborough, NC) works in mixed media to create sculpture and site-specific installations …”I throw myself into the black hole/installation/actual space creating in-equilibrium in the creative process ….and  then physically work from inside out…I dig, grope, sweat, and creatively solve until the work is born/brought to fruition…and I am born again/renewed through the resultant creative work/endeavor…’to stretch’ even further towards more universal understanding.”…(excerpt) WCAGA (Women’s Caucus For Art of Georgia Presents STRETCH…Seven Projects Chosen by Marya Roland to be created at ATHICA in Athens, GA. 2007)

Tom Patterson: Critic for Winston-Salem Journal Now, November, 2005

“Thompson, who lives in Hillsborough, NC, presents six wood-panel paintings, all from her Echo Series. They are the show’s most complex works.  The format Thompson used for each of her paintings recall that of a freestanding, wood-framed blackboard. In each case she employs a palette limited to flat black and a single contrasting high-key color-pink, yellow, blue, etc.–accented by chalk lines and marks.  Each of Thompson’s paintings contains a different configuration of silhouetted human figures, along with occasional silhouetted animals and vegetation.  Some of the figures suggest women gardening, reading, meditating, or nurturing young children.  Others suggest men working, praying, and gesturing. In each painting, these images 0f living, active figures are juxtaposed with their dead counterparts-x-ray-like images of human skeletons.  The later images serve as reminders of the connection between our mortality and the mundane activities we carry out each day.  The theme of mundane activity is highlighted by the miscellaneous black objects-napkins, bags, a trowel, a wooden box, a child’s pair of shoes etc.-attached to the wooden frames.  The theme of mortality, meanwhile, is emphasized by the chalklike strike marks on the paintings’ black wood frames and some of their attached objects.  These marks signify the passage of time, hinting at life’s eventual end.”… (excerpt) Tom Patterson, Winston- Salem Journal Now, November, 2005.

1990s

Anne Binford, Kentucky, NEW ART EXAMINER, December, 1991.

“Rosie Thompson, a NC based artist, declares in her statement that she celebrates the life and/or death of the spirit. In her site-specific installation ”Blue Space Turning” ( at Marlan Gallery, Transylvania University, Lexington, KY) she continued her evocation of the spirit world. Using silhouettes drawn and painted on dark walls in a dimly lit space, she provided a ground in which three-dimensional objects became manifest as symbolic prayer stools, votive offerings, guardian figures, occult devices, and (almost invisible) “soul traps” for the unwary explorer in this spirit space.

Thompson’s silhouetted figures are highly personal – anecdotal in their charm and banality. Created from a series of templates of children, adults, and dogs, the figures scratch up half-memories, filling the blackened space with barely heard longings, giving us glimpses of the nether world. Much in the same way that other families’ photo albums evoke the double experience of bafflement and recognition, so we find ourselves drawn to the gangling boys and girls, to the arching, floating women, and to these men who embrace dogs and children. A moment later, however, the forms have slipped away, transmogrified into ambiguous striped shapes, markers in the blackened room.

A large pale blue area was painted on one wall, the only relief from the rooms prevailing blackness. The silhouetted figures seemed to move out from this “void” while remaining in the darkness themselves, giving it a baroque feeling; it reads as a mesmerizing, powerful symbol of the infinite. An earthly grave mound on the floor below acted as a sobering counter-force, signifying  the ”real space” of the dead.

By using formalized repetition of personal and anecdotal images, Rosie Thompson ritualized those half-experiences and quasi-actualities that form the locus of memories, relationships and family lore.  Among the rich mixture of signs, including masks, crosses, tallyings, stone markers, and sighting lines, we searched for meanings, stumbling over fishing line ”soul traps” we lost the connection; regaining our balance and seeing the signs anew we began the search again within the darkening void.” Anne Binford, Kentucky, NEW ART EXAMINER, December, 1991.

David Minton: Critic, LEXINGTON HERALD- LEADER, NC Artist Brings ‘Crime’ to Transy, October 6, 1991, Lexington, KY

“Rosie Thompson came to town and made the Gallery “the scene of the crime”…But this crime scene isn’t terribly sinister, despite all of the black and absence of the usual lighting. It is dramatic but unreal. Some of the markings are reminiscent of those Carl Sagan and other prominent astrophysicists used on the Voyager plaque. They were designed to communicate ideas to any intelligent life form encountering them. Some of the markings are more out of a Sam Spade murder mystery. Thompson’s outlines are the outlines of figures that are very much alive. There are no details, but one can still make out a person holding a baby here or a male and female talking there.  And look, a man is floating on air over there on that wall- with a broken line at eye level as if he is looking at something in particular and his line of vision has been made visible. When he blinks his eyes, the line of vision is broken. A sculptural item – a striped stick mounted on a stand – serves as a direction finding device, though there seems to be nowhere to go but around and around within these four walls. There is no beginning point and no end point. On the left-hand wall (from the entrance), there is a hole in the blackness. Through it, one can see sky and light through edges that are like silhouetted plant branches and leaves. At the opening, September 22, 1991, Thompson was asked for clues to the purpose and meaning of this site-specific installation. She wouldn’t offer her own interpretation or facts about how she arrived at this kind of art or what her motives for presenting this kind of show were…..And indeed, viewers brought their own ideas to the installation. Up walked a philosophy professor who said the show brought to mind Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” to her mind. Plato (427-328B.C.) developed a philosophy of form and idea as interchangeable. Ideas, he surmised, were of a realm outside the mind, but they could be grasped by the soul – a mediator between appearances and intangibles. It is not far-fetched to see Thompson takes this angle of attack. You are given basic shapes and forms and your brain fills in the rest. Perception is put to work. You don’t have to be a philosopher or a world-class detective to have fun with this installation. But it should not be trivialized either. This is enjoyable viewing.   David Minton, NC Artist Brings ‘Crime’ to Transy, Lexington Herald-Leader, Lexington, KY. Sunday, October 6, 1991.

Linda Talbott: Critic, Gallery 10,Ltd. Press Release, Washington, DC, November, 1991

“Rosie G. Thompson’s mixed media installations define those places where ordinary and non-ordinary reality  intersect, and map the places where, through the experiences of human beings, the two realms bleed into each other…The art works envelope us in the mundane, even the brutal, then transport us to a transcendent realm where the familiar becomes sacred. The journey shocks and uplifts, and finally becomes familiar, as familiar as the rhythm of our own hearts echoing the beat of a primal drum…” ( Re:” Blue Space Turning”), Linda Talbott, Gallery 10 LTD., Washington, DC, November 1991

Blue Greenberg: Critic, THE HERALD SUN, Durham, NC, December 22, 1991

“Rosie Thompson, who teaches in NCCU’s art department…was born in Ybor City, the Latin section of Tampa, FL. Informed by a background Lebanese, American Indian, English, mixed with that of her Spanish, Cuban, and Italian neighbors, Ms. Thompson’s wall constructions (Songs Of Death And Courage) deal with life’s contradictions experienced first-hand. In her series of black wall works, Thompson covers them with graffiti of flowers, eyes, crosses, Jewish stars, and cross hatchings for counting. In “Songs Of Death And Courage “– I, 3D crosses and figures hang from a box while large cutout silhouette of a human figure hangs upside down. Two hands curled into fists jut out from a lower shelf, as if extended to us to choose, and barbed wire in baroque arabesques sprouts all over. “The world is full of contradictions” said Thompson. …”Religion teaches us gentleness, yet, in the name of religion, there is so much violence.”  Blue Greenberg, Personal Roots: enriching American art and society, THE ARTS, The Herald Sun, Durham, NC, December 22, 1991.

Jon Meyer: Critic for ARTNEWS, NEW ART EXAMINER, and VILLAGE VOICE, reports on “HORSE FRESH”, KDM, 1990

“Rosie Thompson’s horse tracings in her installation, Stop And Go ( A Kentucky Derby Museum Commission),not only contain a powerful vitality but also spiritually charge the spaces they contain. Body tracings of human figures, caution sticks, and targets add to the “live” presence. Human and equestrian “shadows” intermingle to produce an ambience prophetic of an ancient and future relationship.” (excerpt) Jon Meyer: critic for ARTnews, New Art Examiner, and Village Voice.

E.C Lipton: Critic , ARTSPEAK, reports on “Happy Combinations in Soho”, NYC, May 1,1990

“Rosie Thompson’s environment (“Jumping Was a Part Of It”) is influenced by performance art and has symbols of loss, birth, death, and imprisonment.” E.C. Lipton, Happy Combinations in Soho, ARTSPEAK, New York, May 1, 1990.

Robert  Brasier: Critic,  DIALOGUE: Art in The Midwest, reports on C.A.G.E. in Cincinnati, September/October 1990

“Rosie Thompson’s (Installation) contribution to the Rites and Relics Exhibit at C.A.G.E. in Cincinnati, is a conglomeration of elements (paper cast heads– some on fire or bleeding; line drawings of skeletons grouped in families; cautionary symbols of alternating black and yellow lines) arranged in a black, ominous field that evokes a feeling of entrapment. Hatch marks, presumably ticking off the days in captivity, are interspersed throughout but are offset by recurring symbols of religious redemption-the glimmer of hope in our confining world.”   Robert Brasier, DIALOGUE: Art in The Midwest, September/October 1990.

Katina Jones: Critic, EVERYBODY’S NEWS, Cincinnati, OH, June, 1990

“Rosie Thompson’s honestly vivid, black and white piece –is a stage-like representation of violence, and prejudice of all kinds. The background is stark black, with chalk drawings depicting different religious symbols. Plaster faces are hung over the chalk body outlines, with some red paint symbolizing bloodshed.  Rituals, Rites, and Relics, at C.A.G.E. in Cincinnati,…traces the mythology, ritual, and spiritualism of many different peoples, but of one mankind.  Katina Jones, Critic, EVERYBODYS  NEWS, Cincinnati, OH, June 1990

Tom Patterson: Critic, WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL, August 12, 1990

“Rosie Thompson’s WATCH DOGS and GREENER DAYS – Installation   is contained in a small three walled room that opens into the Gallery. The black-painted walls and floor contain numerous white outlines of human figures in poses of solitary contemplation or odd interaction with one another; several images of dogs; and skeletons, along with other shapes and markings. Five large white, cage-like structures within the room contain assorted configurations of hand- made paper casts of human faces, feet and hands, as well as cast paper scraps and other objects. More hand -made paper casts in the form of five dog heads, are grouped around and above the room’s open end among random looking arrangements of black silhouette images of dogs, human faces and arms, arrows, green dots, and other markings. On a metal –rod pedestal in the room’s rear center is a small TV monitor broadcasting a videotape that shows a landscape of green lawn and shrubbery. Except for the occasional bird, and figures briefly glimpsed as they walk across the low hill at the top of the screen, this could almost be a still photograph. The sound track consists only of the sounds of a light breeze, birds chirping and the voices of children playing in the distance off screen. “I am baffled by Ms. Thompson’s installation, but at this writing, almost three weeks after viewing the show, I’m still puzzling over and wondering about it, and that’s a good sign. Her piece is an eccentric rearrangement of ordinary reality, and there are more than a few hints of subtext having to do with death and religion. In addition to the small stenciled images of skeletons that pop up here and there, several of the white outlined figures on the walls wear Stars of David on their breasts – echoes of the persecution of Jews by Nazi Germany – and Heads of others are surmounted by small Christian crosses. The serene, green video landscape might represent a small corner of heaven, but because it is clearly a place on earth – and because the room, like Hades of Greek mythology, is guarded by the multi-headed dog – the entire piece may be intended to imply that heaven and hell are both embodied in our earthly existence.” (excerpt) Tom Patterson, WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL, Sunday, August 12, 1990

Martin Rice: Critic, CATAWBA VALLEY NEIGHBORS, June 15, 1990

“Rosie Thompson’s environmental installation WATCH DOGS AND GREENER DAYS in black and white is a stage full of white wire cages that contain symbols of entrapped people. Hands, skulls, and masks cling helplessly to the bars, police homicide line drawings of human forms face the cages, a video of scurrying animals is upstage center, and the proscenium arch contains wraparound cut-outs of human forms with five animal masks arching overhead. This black-box-theater-still-life-drama has a power and energy of its own.” (excerpt)  Martin Rice, Catawba Valley Neighbors, Friday, June 15, 1990.

Blue Greenberg: Critic, DURHAM  MORNING  HERALD, March 13, 1989

“Box Art Rekindles a 60’s Debate , Constructions: Rosie Thompson, Center Gallery at the ArtsCenter, Carrboro –Most whatnots are filled with small collectables, searched for and prized by their owners. Rosie Thompson’s whatnots are filled with objects that symbolized her search for understanding about art, life, and death. Walking around the Gallery filled with her two and three dimensional work, the repetition of certain images is striking. Pairs of eyes are painted on shelves, frames, even sunglasses, and tiny ladders swing from boxes, cling to frames or float within the paintings. Everywhere there art tiny angels, painted black and the pervasive use of the cross – in gentle memorials to a remembered service and not-so-gentle images of figures bearing the emblem in flames. Ms. Thompson’s drawings are placed between the boxes and directly relate to them. They share the same images and represent similar ideas. The boxes make the content clear, and they are, therefore, the stars of the show. Because the boxes are hung so that the bottom shelves are at eye level, you read them upward. Outside   Blind Spots, for example, a figure dangles from a ladder. Inside, painted forms mingle with real ones, and all lead the eyes to two painted figures, carrying crosses. The crosses represent good and evil: One is the cross of peace, the other flames with hatred. In another box, One People, the artist uses crosses, hatchets, painted horizontal sticks, hanging figures and a skull to bring our attention to the Native American. The artist’s format of constructions with found objects follows a long tradition. Volunteer curator William Gambling points out in his concise gallery guide that Picasso was the first to use a found object. Then there was Marcel Duchamp, who filled a box with models of his other work and used a number of constructions to test the limits of reality. Joseph Cornell’s boxes of memorabilia are considered cornerstones of the surrealist movement. These boxes have touches of the personal, but we have to dig for the artist’s intent. Ms. Thompson’s boxes are personal narratives that she believes others share. Her work brings up a debate that raged during the 1960s: Are Artist’s private battles important to art? While each human is a microcosm of the race, artists hold our attention only if they force us to work for the meaning. There is a fine line between the totally obscure and the blatantly clear. Ms. Thompson’s best pieces walk that line.”  Blue Greenberg,  Durham Morning Herald, Friday, M arch 13, 1989.

Meredith Hall: Critic, ARTSPEAK, Ward-Nasse Gallery, NYC, May 16, 1989

“Rosie Thompson’s,  Jumping Was Just A Part Of It, four panels are conceptual displays, a narrative scene within an abstraction” (excerpt) Meredith Hall, ARTSPEAK, May 16, 1989, Ward-Nasse Gallery, NYC .

Mark Reeve: Critic, INFLUENCE: The Art of Baltimore, October/November 1988

“Thompson’s Three Sister’s Installation, in School 33’s Rites, Relics, and Rituals:  Upstairs in the Center, Rosie Gallops Thompson is trying to read her own clues to herself, left behind by her parents and her family experience. In the first room are graphic mixed media pieces, mingled with signs of shadows and images of death that are callers of the dark side of human experience. In the next room the shadows fly around the shadowed vestments of Thompson’s past, stray memories of family traits and a video of the artist and two of her sisters lying in bed talking, and though you’re unable to hear the conversations, it’s clear they’re hashing out their common family shadows. The show is an interesting examination of spirituality between nature and man in a world where nature is all but appreciated. The shadow of our past consciousness of the unknown still pervades in a world where we think we know it all.” (excerpt)  Mark Reeve, INFLUENCE: The Art of Baltimore, October/November 1988.

John Dorsey: Critic, THE SUN, Thoughtful Exhibit Opens at School 33, Baltimore, MD, September 21, 1988

“Rosie Gallops Thompson’s Three Sister’s Installation, consists of drawings, cutouts, and panels relating to a family-hers, apparently- accompanied by a video of herself and her two sisters lying on a bed and sharing stories, memories, and feelings. Few if any visitors to the show will view the hour long video all the way through-I certainly didn’t-partly because it isn’t very interesting: other people’s families aren’t interesting (at least in any length) unless they’re made interesting by more of a shaping hand than seemed to be at work here. But the piece does speak to the continuing need for familial ties, and brings to mind the novels of Anne Tyler- in which there most definitely is form”. (excerpt)  John Dorsey, Today, THE SUN, Thoughtful Exhibit Opens at School 33, September 21, 1988.

1980s

Janice Coco, Virginia, THE NEW ART EXAMINER, April, 1987

“Sculptor Rosie Thompson from Hillsborough, NC, presented a series of two and three dimensional pieces which in her own words, ”celebrate the life and/or death of the spirit”. In these works entitled “Confrontation Series”, at 1708-East Main Gallery, Richmond, VA, she used powerful psychological symbols to ritualize different stages in the life journey between birth and death.

The viewer was heralded into Thompson’s installation, Journey Junction II, by a child-sized angel amidst mounds of hay, a symbol of regeneration and fertility. Two silhouettes of harvesters move toward a third which is marked with a white “X” (a mark of death?). Striped poles serve as markers in this life journey. Interspersed throughout Thompson’s work are ribbons and hearts suggesting girlhood dreams, adding to the stark realities of her central theme.” (excerpt) Janice Coco, Virginia, THE NEW ART EXAMINER, April, 1987.

J. Taylor Basker: Critic for ARTSPEAK, reports on Ward-Nasse Gallery, NYC, October 1, 1987

“Rosie Thompson‘s strange juxtapositions of objects evoke an 80s stream of consciousness.” at Ward-Nasse Gallery, NYC (excerpt)  J. Taylor Basker, ARTSPEAK,NYC, October 1, 1987.

Patrick Frank: Critic for NEW ART EXAMINER, reports on Rites, Relics, and Rituals at Foundry Gallery, DC, March, 1985

“Rosie Thompson’s piece was interesting in its subtle allusions to phenomenology. Three short walls surrounded a mound of earth and straw. On the walls were silhouettes of heads with dotted lines going from one to the other. The subject matter, deftly suggested, was the way in which the world and other people impress themselves on our consciousness.”  (excerpt) Rites, Relics, Rituals at Foundry Gallery, DC, Patrick Frank, Reviews: Washington, DC, NEW ART EXAMINER, March 1985

Jon Meyer: Critic for THE ARTS JOURNAL reports on Sculpture in NC, April, 1986

“Rosie Thompson’s reliquary objects and environments investigate three modes that shape her psyche: sculpture as a art form, life as a form, and death as part of life. Her work is extremely intense, emotional, and personal. She sets the stage, but her sculpture does the performing. Thompson is at her poignant best in the memorial SONG FOR MY FATHER. It is unusual to find such intimate emotions over death of a loved one exposed by sculptural illustration. A six- foot-long bale of hay serves as unlit funeral pyre on which vestiges of the deceased form remain as a black painted triangle with a death mask placed at its base. Tenuous leather strips with purple annular bands emanate from the mask. A leather badge with purple satin heart takes its place on the figurative remains. Numerous ”energy bundles” contain raw clay or earth wrapped with purple chiffon fabric and  black string, and serve to concentrate devotional “energy forces” moving around and through the object and the artist. Thompson transformed a dug-up catcher’s mask into the death mask for the memorial. The catcher’s mask had been borrowed from a friend, but after seeing the entire piece in context, her friend decided not to take the mask back.

The titles of Thompson’s series are imbued with spiritual connotations: “Soul Catchers”,One in The Spirit”, “Oracle”, “Markers”.  Materials the artist employs are particularly metaphoric: bones and hides of animals, especially wild sheep bones found along NC Coast; rocks from the sea with holes worn in them; sticks, straw, and decorative fabrics. Thompson’s resulting sculptures are visually related to Nancy Graves’ work, and though both women are found object gatherers, Graves transmutes her objects through the casting process into bronze, while Thompson works with the originals. It is significant that both artists sculpture has developed a distinctive, personal look, while extending boundaries of acceptability for definitions of sculpture. Rosie Thompson’s art would be aptly illuminated by Leo Tolstoy’s definition: ‘Art is a human activity consisting in this, that one man consciously by means of certain external signs, hands on to others feelings he has lived through, and that others are infected by these feelings and also experience them.” (excerpt)  Jon Meyer, THE ARTS JOURNAL: Sculpture in NC. April 1986.

Robert Merrit:  Critic, RICHMOND TIMES: Art review, 1708-East Main Art Space, Richmond, VA, December 6, 1986

Rosie Thompson, a North Carolina artist, offers a dramatic contrast. Her series of collage drawings and two large installation/ constructions require patience. What first seems almost too personal to have real meaning only gradually allows the viewer to see into their mysterious, ritualistic experience of metaphysical being. The themes, expressed in obscure and eccentric items such as purple gloves, and wand- carrying cherubs, bring the viewer face to face with unexplained tensions between the real world and a spiritual plane. (excerpt) Robert Merrit, Art Review, Richmond Times, December 6, 1986, 1708 East Main Art Space, Richmond, VA.

Mary McCoy: Critic, WASHINGTON REVIEW, Gallery 10,Ltd, Washington, DC, March 1985

There is in Rosie Thompson’s work a rare kind of honesty. The decisions of a mature, well- educated artist stand beside unedited, girlish touches – hearts, and streaming ribbons. Thompson uses her ability to draw on the powerful symbology of the unconscious to create a very personal kind of art. It is both lively and thoughtful, touching on a range of human themes from the psychological and anthropological to the knowingly sentimental.

In both two-and three dimensional pieces, Thompson combines shamanistic materials – modern, traditional and natural alike – in works dealing with the relationship of life and death, an important subject to the artist since her father’s recent death.

Song for My Father uses two bales of hay as funeral pyre, but hay is also a symbol of fertility and regeneration. The body is gone and has left only an empty black mask and long wedge-shaped scorch mark on the hay, outlined with painted twigs trailing small packages like charms or gifts. Chicken –scratch numbers mark the mask, like a tallying of years. A tail twig at the foot of the piece trails a long lavender ribbon. There is a bittersweet feeling of festive, heart-rending farewells and good wishes, almost as if an ocean liner were setting sail.

Our culture treats its rituals with somber seriousness which sets them and the events they commemorate apart from daily life. Thompson has replaced this gloom with vital, interactive festivity practices by many other cultures. In doing so, she does not trivialize her subject but rather connects it irrevocably with everyday living.  This, traditionally was its proper place, before modern ways detached us from the continuum of life and death. Mary McCoy, WASHINGTON REVIEW, February/March 1985, Gallery 10 Ltd., Washington, DC.

Blue Greenberg: Critic, DURHAM MORNING HERALD: Sculptures Set Up contrasts, Durham, NC, March 25, 1983

Rosie Thompson’s sculpture is a celebration of life, combining pink, blue, purple, yellow, and turquoise organdy with steel and barbed wire, mirrors, beach rocks and animal bones. The colored organdy, pulled over rigid wire, makes soft yet firm organic forms. Attached with ribbons, some wrapped around wires, these forms come alive. Ms. Thompson always sets up contrasts. Death as a part of life is a constant in her work. Her newest thoughts are encased in bird-like forms that hug the walls. My favorite of her new ideas is” Silent Journey”, a figure quietly poised, with flag waving, ready to move out in front of a dynamic army. Rosie Thompson is an original. Blue Greenberg, Durham Morning Herald, Sculptures Set Up Contrasts, March 25, 1983.

THE ARTS JOURNAL : Rosie Thompson Celebrates Life, p.9, 1983

Sculptor Rosie Thompson from Hillsborough, NC, will have her work on display in three shows during November. “Oracle No. 1” is part of a Tri-state Sculptors Exhibition at Green Hill Center for NC Art in Greensboro through November 13. “One In The Spirit “ a   series of six works,  is  installed in the Sculpture Court at Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem through November 27. “Tribute to Marie Laveau’” is included in the Tribute Exhibition at Center/Gallery in Carrboro through November 27. Thompson says, “My work is about the celebration of the life and/or death of the spirit. My creative spirit exists in the tension between these two modes. Through dialogues between my work and myself I investigate the inner and outer limits of art, life, and death.” Her Sculptures are constructed of bamboo, paint, organdy, shells, rocks, and sea grass.

Thompson had four other solo shows in NC during 1983 – at Durham Arts Center, Chowan College in Murfreesboro, Center/Gallery in Carrboro, and Gaston College in Dallas. She also participated in several group shows including “Alternative Devotional Objects” at Somerhill Gallery in Durham, Northern Telecom’s 2nd Annual juried sculpture exhibition in RTP, and Artsplosure ’83 in Raleigh. Her work toured Europe in 1982-83 as part of “North Carolina Artists Portfolio” and is currently touring the USA and Canada in “USA Feminist Art”.

Thompson was born in Tampa, Florida, but earned degrees from East Carolina University in North Carolina. She taught at ECU as a Graduate Fellow and served as a visiting artist at Tulane University in New Orleans. She presently is director of exhibitions for Tri-State Sculptors Guild and sculpture coordinator for Raleigh’s Artsplosure. In 1984 she will be a guest artist at East Kentucky University, Duke University, and Gaston College. THE ARTS JOURNAL, Rosie Thompson Celebrates Life, p.9,  November, 1983.

James Phoenix: Critic, THE SPECTATOR, Fall, 1980

“The  Touchables” – Soft Art,  the exhibition  now filling the five main floor galleries of the Durham Arts Council, combines the work of four artists, all working with materials that evokes both visual and tactile responses.

Rosie Thompson is the most three dimensional and at the same time single-minded artist in the show. Her contribution is a series of “Cocoon Stations” and a “Cocoon Landing”. The latter is actually the display of an event that occurred at Shelley Lake In Raleigh at the Sertoma  Art Center in April 1980. It’s a small version of an aerial balloon which is carrying a cargo of cocoons.

Silent Flock In Formation” is the first of the “Cocoon stations” series. Here five bird-like cocoons are freely represented in a soft white nylon with silver trim, and are hanging from a wire by their beaks. Often wrapped in a supportive material, the cocoons take on different shapes and aspects at different stations. The cutest “Cocoon Station” is #6 –“ Perfunctory Incubation”  a series of out-trays strung one below the other, containing baby cocoons. (excerpt)  James Phoenix, THE SPECTATOR, Fall, 1980.

1970s

Blue Greenberg: Critic, DURHAM HERALD, I’m Dismayed: Art Museum’s Exhibition Is Controversial, 1979

The 1979 North Carolina Museum Annual is now open; the judges have disappeared; the prizes have been awarded and controversy reigns once more…For a while the museum awards had been reduced to only medals of gold, silver, and bronze, and I felt that limited the interest of financially strapped artists. That, too, has changed, and the prizes now include both a medal and a substantial money award.

Overall the show reflects innovative work and is a microcosm of general trends nationwide. The judges have, in most cases, not hesitated at the unusual. Most of the sculpture, except for prize winner Rosie Thompson’s “Inert Systems(Y-G-P), and a few of the memorabilia pieces, is hacked mediocrity. Thompson’s piece is an imaginative and subtly funny take-off on medical science and it’s effect on human anatomy. (excerpt) Blue Greenberg, excerpt from: I’m Dismayed: Art Museum’s Exhibition Is Controversial, DURHAM HERALD, Art Review, 1979.

Paquita Jurgensen: Critic, SPECTATOR, Living Trends, 1979

The new Art School Space in Carr Mill presently houses the Gallery Theater. On and along the walls this month is the work of Rosie Thompson. The work includes sculpture, drawings, and collages. It is very analytical and futuristic, cold and numbing. The Inert Systems Series , Racked Forms are vinyl, chrome constructions, some with electronic workings, which hang from racks like sides of beef or cocoons. The Parasite Recaptured Series is a study for outdoor tree installation in pencil, wire, and paint.

Art exhibits are frequently featured at the back of the theater and this latest one provides something of a surprise for the uninitiated. It’s easy to mistake the exhibit for hanging costumes and to spend time trying to figure out just how actors are going to fit into these brief creations of leather and gauze. It’s something of a shock to discover they aren’t costumes at all but Rosie Thompson’s soft sculptures, beautiful in the same way a Degas painting is beautiful, titled Parasite Recaptured Series, Inert Systems Series, and Silent Flock in Formation – the later, at first glance, resembling children’s ballet costumes, and, on second glance, .a row of hanging white leghorns waiting to be stuffed for Thanksgiving Dinner

Most accessible is the “Silent Flock In Formation, a Series of bird-like figures that are suspended as if in flight. In general, this one-woman show is jarring, and makes the viewer think in new terms in order to appreciate the work.  Paquita Jurgensen, Living Trends, SPECTATOR, 1979

Kim Irwin, ARTSCOPE:  This Issue’s Featured Artist: Rosie Thompson, Vol.2, No.2, 1978, The Arts School, Carrboro, NC

“The main focus in my present work has been in dealing with intrinsic tensions between Static and Kinetic form in life and/or art systems. The Creative process in my work is a threefold investigation of form; i.e., collage-drawings, poems, and sculpture.

My collage-drawings are fastening boards which allow for a personal way of dealing with intrinsic energy-tensions in a direct, spontaneous and tactile manner. The assemblage process facilitates the shifting, pinning, and cutting of paper; the pushing and clipping of wire or string; and analytic markings with pencil. By utilizing the assemblage process, I can linger until the relational elements are clearly visible and comprehensible. The cutting of paper shapes, together with  the  tying and connecting of wire, allow speedy investigations of ideas that may or may not determine the succeeding sculpture. Some ideas materialize in the collage-drawings and need no further investigation. Other ideas, that are initiated in the collage-drawings, I choose to explore further via sculptural form. The choice of color (pastels) is important in that it juxtaposes the analytic quality of the pencil markings and intense quality of rivets and tied wire. In the white-on-white works, the actual shadows cast by the cutouts are more obvious, but the above-mentioned juxtaposition is not apparent. The pencil marks are personal notations concerning the assemblage of intrinsic relationships, structures, and systems.

My poems are used for gaining additional conceptual clarity and aiding me in visual conceptual jumps. When I find myself in a deadlock situation creatively, or when the nearsighted studio work situation prevents conceptual clarity, I write until I can see again.

Ideas initiated in my collage-drawings have new expression in the sculptural form. The process and materials become a more objective means of arriving at a concrete concept through the actual investigation of form.

The intent of my juxtaposing materials in the investigation of sculptural form is similar to my juxtaposing materials in the collage-drawings. The sculptures of soft materials and pastel colors, containing juxtaposing hard chrome materials, electronic workings, artificial automatic control and feeding systems, and the absence of inner support structures for the forms, are akin to the pastel hand-shaped cut-outs, containing juxtaposing rivets, wire tension, and analytic pencil marks. The assemblage process in my sculpture is immediately apparent in the part-to-part quality engendered by the sewn method of construction and reinforced by the lacing and riveting of sections together. The assemblage process evidences a developmental process in form and idea that allows the viewer’s passage to the content of the work. The traces of process are so evident that they can be shared visually with the viewer allowing the viewer to reassemble and/or disassemble analytically. The analytic process, initiated by the assemblage process, may encourage the viewer’s passage to the content of the form and it’s analysis”. Kim Irwin, ARTSCOPE, vol. 2, no. 2,  1978, the Art School, Carrboro, NC.

J. Joyner: Critic, KINSTON DAILY NEWS, Graduate Students Exhibit Paintings and Sculptures at LCC Art Gallery, April. 1976, Kinston, NC

An Exhibit of modernistic sculpture and paintings by two East Carolina Graduate Students is being featured this month at the Lenoir County Art Gallery in the Main Building. Rosie Thompson a former student at LCC and a sculpture graduate student at ECU is exhibiting unusual sculpture.  Charles Wayne Kesler, who is working on his master’s degree in fine arts is exhibiting 11 new paintings, Both artists will be on hand 10am April 28, to discuss their work with interested art lovers. The general public is also invited….Miss Thompson’s exhibit has been described as the most unusual ever offered in an LCC Exhibit. She has an associate degree in art from LCC and a bachelor of fine arts degree from ECU and is working on her master’s degree in sculpture.

In describing her Exhibit she says, “The sculpture in this exhibit presents some positive and negative aspects of our intelligent life, intelligent machine existence in a cyborg relationship – concerning now and the near future.”   Cyborg refers to both electromechanical systems with life like behavior and man-made systems which parallel (through feedback) some properties of the single biological organisms, according to Jack Burnham in “beyond Modern Sculpture”.

The artist’s approach to building mixed media sculpture, deals with an outer shell of soft materials such as vinyl over foam rubber stretched over wood or metal structures as an encasement for the organic-mechanical internal systems. The organic-mechanical systems range in their composition from the use of machine parts, electronic circuits producing designated behavioral effects through scanner lights or digital readouts; battery-operated kinetic parts; radiometer used for kinetic effects; the plexiglass for viewing and special effects.  (excerpt)  KINSTON DAILY NEWS , April 1976, Kinston, NC.

Copyright (c) 2015. Rosie G. Thompson. All Rights Reserved.