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Storm Tharp

Born 1970 in Ontario, Oregon
Lives and works in Portland, Oregon

Storm Tharp builds his strange and beautiful characters by first drawing contours on the page with water. Before the water has a chance to dry, he applies drops of mineral ink, resulting in unruly and expansive bleeds on the paper. This process is repeated in various instances to build forms and light sources. Once the adequate amount of ink has been dropped and dried, the artist manipulates the form in a variety of ways, such as drawing and erasing. Tharp takes his inspiration from a wide-ranging set of influences including 1970s American cinema and Japanese portrait prints. His characters have names, histories, and narratives, but they suggest multiple interpretations. Is the woman clutching a knife in Pigeon (After Sunshen) defending herself or is she a vengeful murderess? Is the girl in Dolores tethered by the medal around her neck or free like the bird perched on her head? In these enigmatic portraits Tharp investigates the performance of identity and the point where the myth of a person supercedes reality and becomes truth.

Read about the artist

Interview with Storm Tharp
Portland Art (November 2008)

Virtuoso Vindicated: Storm Tharp at PDX
Portland Art (January 2007)

Storm Tharp at PDX Contemporary
Artforum (March 2007; via findarticles.com)