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Will Thomson's work deals with memory and it's fallibility. His works draw on the Freudian concept of the uncanny, where normal, everyday objects are seen in a different light and become unfamiliar and strange.
Think back to childhood. When a car swang past the house and, for one brief moment, the room was coated in lurid light - pot plant, bed, the blind streaked across the wall - before darkness slid in again to take its place. It is this moment, when the homely becomes monstrous, that Will is interested in. Whether in his large-scale paintings or in his installations, Thomson’s work deals with memory and its fallibility.
Playing with the photographic source material, which often provides the inspiration for each painting, Will simplifies his interiors to blocks of pure colour or raw canvas, punctuated only by the odd item of furniture or door left ajar. In this way, he questions the objectivity of the photograph as a ‘truth telling’ device, using sparse detail to evoke emotions rather than facts. Beds, plants and windows are rendered in textures of black - flocked, scumbled, impasto - and unfinished canvas. This urge to both reveal and conceal is not unlike memory itself, which is often shaped by the desire to either remember or forget.
In the past few years Thomson has exhibited in multiple group shows in London, showing his work at both the ICA and Royal Academy of Art , as well as internationally in the group show ‘HYPERION’ in New York. In 2017 Will made a large series of paintings inspired by a time when he was forced to move back to his childhood home. Crippling rent meant an independent creative life in London was unattainable and reserved for the rich. He found himself in a suspended state, where a house that was once so familiar had became a source of frustration, with a feeling that he no longer belonged there. Moving around the house, memories of his childhood would come to him, most often at night. These jolts of recognition often related to instances when his younger self was most ill at ease: started by an errant shadow, or a unexplained creak.
Will has started to develop a series of installations that use smell to evoke a memory. Fascinated by the under used artistic medium of smell, he reproduces and combines smells in the form of an installation that are created to remind the viewer of an environment, close to them. His new installation 'Golly Gosh', an installation conceived as an olfactory ode to his Grandma, aims to jolt viewers straight into her living room in Swindon. The combined smell of Chanel No. 5, Gordon’s Gin and a half-smoked fag causes sudden, involuntary memory taking the viewer on an unnerving trip against their will.
‘WASN’T IT UNCANNY’, Wills debut solo exhibition, set in UNIT3 of Old Street’s underground station, uses the notion of subtle change to dictate its structure. Each day, a different selection of artworks will be on display over the weeklong exhibition. Thomson anticipates that commuters who pass through the station will notice the shifting permutations of the exhibition, and be left wondering what has changed from day to day.
Floorr, 21st January 2019
Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your background? Where did you study?
I’m from London and embarrassingly have never really left - I hope that's not too noticeable. I've been working in my studio since I left school 6 years ago. After my A-levels (about 18) I decided not to go on to study at university, I think it was because the fees went up, and figured that as its hard enough to make money in the arts ...
Kooness, 26th February 2018
Will Thomson is an emerging British artist, born in 1992, he lives and works in London.
Will Thomson's work deals with memory and it's fallibility.
His works draw on the Freudian concept of the uncanny, where normal, everyday objects are seen in a different light and become unfamiliar and strange. ...
Born 1992 in London. Lives and works in London.
2016 || Hyperion | MTArt, Frieze New York
2015 || Artrooms | London
2015 || Institute of Contemporary Art, on behalf of MTArt
2015 || The Royal Academy of Art
2015 || The British Film Institute
2015 || Queens College Art Fair, Cambridge
2015 || Candid Art Gallery
2016 || Shortlisted for the International Emerging Artist Award
2014 || Shortlisted for 2014 BLOOOM award by WARSTEINER
DATE || The Germ, Eryngium Maritimum