Masterminds 2013: Artist of the Day, Jeffrey Thompson

Categories: Art, Artopia
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Who are today's most promising emerging artists? Each year, SF Weekly finds 10 of them for our Masterminds issue. You'll be able to see these artists and their work up close at Artopia on Thursday, Feb. 21, at SOMArts Cultural Center.

That night we'll also announce the three artists who will receive grants. Come out and meet them. But first, get to know their work.

See Also: All the Masterminds 2013 artists

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Jeffrey Thompson
Apache

"The grid is appealing":

Jeffrey Thompson

"I'm emerging late." Jeffrey Thompson is referring to his age (57) and his newfound emphasis on grid paintings -- alluring works that blend abstraction with patterns of squares, lines, and thin strips. He discovered his interest in grids in 2010, after a long period that emphasized more figurative work. "I felt the need to reinvent myself."

Thompson underlays his paintings with pieces of newspapers, magazines, and other printed material that take on new meaning in his oil and acrylic mosaics. In a recent untitled piece, he squeezes in truncated black-and-white word fragments like "rt" and "ike" and "ces," complementing the works' elliptical shading and giving it an appealing level of mystery. 

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Jeffrey Thompson
Seven Column Grid No. 2

Thompson, who lives in North Beach, studied art at the San Francisco Art Institute, De Anza College, and California State University, East Bay, and has exhibited in Bay Area cafes and galleries. Next month, Southern Oregon University's Center for the Visual Arts is giving him a solo exhibit, and new audiences for his geometries. "The grid is appealing," he says, "because it's a central foundation of so many aesthetic areas, including textiles, architecture, and film. I work in commercial design, and the grid is a big part of everything that gets done commercially," he says. Much of what happens in two-dimensional work is based on the grid.

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Jeffrey Thompson
Yellow Grid No. 1

In middle age, Thompson has more time for his paintings. For many years, he devoted his days to helping raise his two sons and his autistic daughter. She's now an artist in her own right, and is starting to establish a career -- just as Thompson is restarting his own. "A lot of people imagine artists as these young, hungry, talented, and capable people -- and frequently they are," he says. "But it's not the entire story."

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