Barton Art Galleries will Focus on Painting in “A Good Look” Exhibition Opening March 18

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Artist William Paul Thomas painting a portrait

WILSON, N.C. — March 1, 2021 — Painting will be the focus of “A Good Look,” an extraordinary exhibition of works opening in March in the Barton Art Galleries on the campus of Barton College. “A Good Look” will feature the paintings of William Paul Thomas, artist-in-residence on campus this spring semester. The exhibition will be on view from Thursday, March 18, through Friday, April 16.

On Thursday, March 18, the Barton Art Galleries and the Barton College Friends of Visual Arts will host an opening reception at 5 p.m. for “A Good Look.” An artist lecture, featuring Thomas, will follow at 6 p.m. These two events will be open to the public at no charge, and the community is invited to attend. Reservations will be required for the opening reception and lecture, and space will be limited. Social distancing and masks also will be required when visiting this exhibition. To make reservations for this event or to visit the Barton Art Galleries on a future date, please contact Maureen O’Neill, director of exhibitions and educational programming, at moneill@barton.edu or 252-399-6476.

About the artist — 

William Paul Thomas, a painter, photographer, and videographer, creates pictures as a way to capsulize his broad, ongoing exploration of the human condition. He chooses specific models as a way of recognizing their significance in his life’s path, often drawing on his immediate social network to offer complex representations of people of color. He integrates text and other symbols into the portrait work to narrow the subject matter and complicate the viewer’s understanding of the subject’s identity.heads and shoulders photo of artist William Paul Thomas

“Most of my creative work is tangled up with the attempt to grant access to anyone on the outside,” shares Thomas. “This gets complicated. Who said they even wanted to come in? I might paint a portrait of a young man who [understandably] has never set foot in the art gallery that sits within a mile of his childhood home. We invite his family to see the portrait. Maybe they’ll continue to visit the gallery after my show is de-installed. Maybe they won’t.

“When I talk about my work to viewers, I’ll recount things from other intimate conversations to illustrate how personal exchanges inspire my decision making,” Thomas continues. “I love sharing carefully designed paintings, prints, and digital experiments for public consumption. Whether the images are depictions of anonymous floating heads, headless bodies frozen in time, or cryptic phrases that invite extended inquiry, my efforts are heavily bent towards highlighting the questionable barriers that exist between us and everything else.”

Thomas was the recipient of the 2016 Ella Fountain Pratt Emerging Artist Grant and the Durham Art Guild’s Artist in Residence at Golden Belt Artist Studios. He also was the Brock Family Visiting Instructor in Studio Arts at Duke University during the 2017-18 academic year. Thomas received his B.F.A. in Studio Art from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and his M.F.A. from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

The Barton Art Galleries, located inside Case Art Building on the campus of Barton College, is open Monday­-Thursday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., and Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., or by appointment. For additional information or to reserve a time to visit, please contact Maureen O’Neill, director of exhibitions and educational programming, at artgalleries@barton.edu 252-399-­6476. Barton Art Galleries requests visitors to make a reservation in advance of their planned visit. Individual and small group tours may be scheduled by reservation, and evening and weekend times may also be scheduled by request.

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