Prohibition Gallery is honored to present Thomas Garner's 'American Classic', opening July 5th from 6pm to 9pm.


These paintings were conceived as a “drive-by” snapshot collage of LA. The drive-by blur is expressive of movement, and hence time. The “drive-thru” view is expressive of recurrent memory, in this case, diaphanous, ephemeral space compressed like shiny reflections on glass surfaces. Garner has painted a multiplicity of signs, both literal and metaphorical of our wonderful multi-everything sunset city.


This new body of Urban Paintings is actually imbedded in work he started many years ago, inspired by Classical Venetian painting. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice and lived and worked in Italy for 24 years. That work was about Art and Art history and how we see Art through the perceptual and cultural filters of representation and presentation (paintings of pictures of paintings in museums.)


In this new work the cultural filter is Photoshop, a digital palimpsest that can leave residual traces of what came before, the layering of one image over another. Classical oil painting is all about glazing, scumbling and varnishing transparent layers so that what is underneath is never completely lost. The surface thus becomes rich, dense, and glassy with a great sense of depth. This Urban work tries to bridge these old and new technologies.


These paintings are on denim as opposed to linen or cotton canvas because it is more appropriate to the urban subject matter. They are masked off at the edges and sometimes silhouetted to give the sense of something cutout from reality, stolen or expropriated. They are layered, glazed and varnished in the manner of classical painting.


Garner’s painting style started out as photorealist, but with time he learned the craft of the masters, so that now he is able to create a unified mechanism between technique and content, painting about painting. He currently teaches Classical Oil Painting at UCLA Extension.


Thomas Garner's 'American Classic' is available to view at Prohibition Gallery, from July 5th to August 2nd.