Thomas Woodruff

A few weeks ago, we were down in New Orleans and were able to get over to the Contemporary Arts Center to see the Thomas Woodruff exhibit, Freak Parade

From CAC's site:

Thomas Woodruff's Freak Parade is an ambitious and dazzling parade of images that celebrates beauty in aberrance. The Parade's hapless yet noble characters march gaily across a black expanse, each member on a different panel. This exhibition includes 34 large scale drawing/paintings, each of which is rendered in detail and delicately embellished with tiny rhinestones.

Thomas Woodruff began this project in late 2000 as a reaction against the global standardization of culture. A master of hybridizing vocabularies from the past and present, Woodruff references sideshow banners, Pompeian wall frescoes, baroque religious paintings, theatrical posters, and Victorian penmanship charts to create a new yet oddly familiar world. Each image has a caption, title, or poem included. Written by the artist, these texts add another level of meaning to the pictures. They are deliberately subdued and darkened, and subvert the viewer's usual response- so conditioned through advertising-to image and text.

Freak Parade was recently shown at University Galleries at Illinois State University, University Art Museum at California State University, Herron Galleries at Herron School of Art and Design, Selby Gallery at Ringling College of Art and Design, and Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University. Woodruff has had over 20 one-person exhibitions, and his work has been seen in museum shows internationally. He has contributed award-winning illustrations to every major periodical in America, and has created book jackets for novels by Anne Tyler, Robertson Davies, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and many others. Woodruff worked as a tattooist in the late 1980s, and he has a cult status in the alternate art scene. He is presently the chair of the Department of Illustration and Cartooning at the School of Visual Arts in New York. A documentary on this project, Thomas Woodruff's FREAK PARADE, was produced in 2004 for Gallery HDTV.

This exhibition was organized by University Galleries, College of Fine Arts, Illinois State University and is supported in part by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a State Agency.

The exhibit is only on display in the gallery until October 24, so if you're in the area get over to see it before it's gone. His work is truly unbelievable.

A few of the 34 paintings of Freak Parade:


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