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Derek Eller Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new work by Tom Thayer entitled Make a Pinch Pot Out of Your Mouth. Thayer transforms modest materials like cardboard, felt, string, and wire into dreamlike, ephemeral paintings and sculpture depicting mysterious figures, birds, shapes, and desolate scenery. He utilizes these artworks as sets and characters for the durational performances he refers to as “scenographic plays.” He will activate the exhibition with a performance on Friday, September 6, 6-8 pm.


Thayer’s practice of spinning narrative encompasses object-making, live action, sound, and projection. Most recently, he has also added a written component to the work. The writing is generated in a surrealist tradition, by mixing deep and intuitive thoughts with existing factual texts from a personal library of didactic writing on nature, the earth sciences or a smattering of other topics. The painting pictured above is accompanied by the following: 


It is said universal hungers are few. Still, who among us does not dream hotly of the moon? Moon Bathing has become one of the most popular hobbies in the country. In practical and economical terms, it offers more thrill and excitement than any other: one’s shimmering body amongst the shut wildflowers, bathed in the moonlight of a blue prairie and the smells of a grey horned owl. 


Having resolved to write about the moon, I collected data on it. My findings were so ill matched to the altitude of my theme, they serve only as a thank offering: 


Some thousands of years ago a merchant wandering the desert stopped to pour milk from a skin bottle onto a rock. The merchant cast the rock into the sky and the moon was born. The bottle was made of a calf’s stomach. In the heat, its contents had turned to curds. Enfeebled as it is by this story, and all other processed horrors of humanity, the moon still gives its light to us. I do not believe it is made of cheese. I do not. And we do not need to name it. The moon is beyond our understanding.


Thayer has always manifested a singular vision within a multi-disciplinary oeuvre. Employing this range of media, he explores aspects of childhood and the imagination as alternatives to the rationalized and regulated everyday world. Often low-tech in their execution, Thayer’s works channel outsider art, Surrealist sculpture, and Primitivism. As such, they maintain a raw authenticity, fortified by pathos and humor.


Tom Thayer lives and works in New Jersey. He has performed at The Kitchen and The Museum of Modern Art and was included in the 2012 Whitney Biennial exhibition. He has been included in recent group exhibitions at Stations, Berlin; Tetsuo’s Garage, Nikko, Japan; and WallRiss Gallery, Fribourg, Switzerland. Thayer is an Associate Professor at The City College of New York, CUNY, where he is Director of the MFA program in studio art. This will be his third solo exhibition with the gallery.