June 1–24, 2006
Michael Thompson’s finely crafted and psychologically charged drawings and paintings are uncannily realistic and formidable in their devotion to detail. Like the Borges tale, in which the cartographers of the Empire draw a map so detailed that it ends up exactly covering the territory, Thompson creates complex maps of our cognitive domain. His works are haunting in their stillness and verisimilitude, which leads to questions of perception and the nature of memory. By creating a space of contemplation through careful observation and obsessive recording, his pictures invite close attention – each element is rendered deliberately and vividly with astonishing technical skill. These elements, although fixed and highly specific, become symbolic in the eyes of the beholder. In philosophy, realism is the view that there is an external world that exists independent of our perception of it. Thompson’s work exists in the space between these two realms, where fascination with appearances and the iconography of everyday life reverberates on deeper levels.
Michael Thompson was born in Montréal and graduated from Concordia University in 1978. Past solo exhibitions include the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery; Saidye Bronfman Centre, Montreal; the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and the Art Gallery of Hamilton. His work is held in the collections of the Art Gallery of Ontario; the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal and numerous corporate and private collections.