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See ‘Mood Swings’ paintings, video works: Barton gallery show opens Aug. 22

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The beginning of a new academic year brings with it a new exhibition at the Barton Art Galleries. “Mood Swings,” featuring paintings and video works by artist William Paul Thomas, goes on display Thursday, Aug. 22, and runs through Sept. 27.

An opening reception and gallery talk lecture featuring the artist will be held Aug. 22. The reception begins at 5 p.m., with the lecture to follow at 6. All events are open to the public at no charge, and the community is invited to attend.

Thomas is a painter, photographer and videographer who 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. His exhibition will include five paintings of members of the Barton College community that Thomas met during a visit to campus in the spring.

“I choose specific models as a way of recognizing their significance in my life’s path,” Thomas said. “I relish being able to honor everyday people through making images. We regularly celebrate women and men of prominence in mass media, so I take advantage of the opportunity to highlight the people that impact me on a more direct level than the untouchable celebrity or distant historical figure could.

“I integrate text and other symbols into the portrait work to narrow the subject matter to a certain degree and complicate the viewer’s understanding of the portrait subject’s identity,” he said. “The work begins as an intimate acknowledgment of the individual and is subsequently transformed into a set of symbols poised for the viewer’s investigation.”

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 was the Brock Family Visiting Instructor in Studio Arts at Duke University during the 2017-18 academic year. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in studio art from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and his Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

The Barton Art Galleries, located inside Case Art Building on the campus of Barton College, are open Monday­ through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by appointment. For information, contact Maureen O’Neill, director of exhibitions and educational programming Barton Art Galleries at 252-399­-6476 or artgalleries@barton.edu.

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