Down at Pike Street Market, the Lisa Harris Gallery is host to an exhibit by one of their stalwarts, Bellingham resident Thomas Wood. Wood has long been known for both his printmaking and his pastels, but this show is dominated by oils, many painted on location. Wood depicts places ranging from the San Juan Islands to the Cascade crest. These familiar scenes are often rendered mysterious by his highly charged interpretations. Here with our review is KUOW art critic, Gary Faigin.
If Impressionism is a string quartet, a bright texture of high notes and rippling harmonies, then the paintings of Thomas Wood are more of a cello concerto, where a driving, rough-edged melody is built on tones that are dark, low, and resonant. Wood’s image of the Pacific Northwest is both nostalgic and visionary, a wild realm of modest cabins, uninhabited islands and lonely mountain meadows, all penetrated by an impossibly intense natural light. This almost violent illumination — the opposite of the misty grey many of us experience - reduces hills, trees and people alike to stark black silhouettes set against a glowing, cloud-dotted sky.