Holding a Peach, Storm Tharp’s exhibition of new paintings and sculptures, is a study in intimacy.
September 24—29th is the final week of Holding a Peach, an exhibition of new paintings and sculptures by Storm Tharp at PDX Contemporary in Portland, Oregon. At a glance, the new work by Mr. Tharp hardly looks to be a radical departure from the old. Upon entering the first room of the gallery, which is hung with 16 paintings, you can see plenty of his trademark ink spills and spidery lines, his light watercolor palette with occasional hints of gold leaf.
In place of the usual portraits, though, one finds paintings filled with an abstract jumble of legs, butts, and chests, with inky hairs and lumpy love handles hanging out. By and large the forms are masculine, the body hair abundant. Wide ribbons of paint allude to boxer and brief waists, sharp blue corners evoke gentlemen’s shirt collars, black bands resembling cod-pieces wrap around fatty flesh. The mish-mash of these elements in paintings like Spring Picture: Athlete could represent an act of love-making (or at least vigorous wrestling), but the parts also adhere together to make a callipygian whole.