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Zipporah Camille Thompson’s recent works in Optical Illusion juxtapose organic and inorganic materials to connote that which cannot be readily seen. “Clay is malleable and responsive and I appreciate its rapid memory of what I have asked it to do,” explains Thompson.”Intangible and invisible are made visible via textiles and clay, two mediums by which each fingerprint, each memory is imprinted onto the surface and is deeply embedded into the structure.” While clay and textiles reveal the history of their making, the found objects in these works such as insulation, foam, and roofing tile, point to industry and mass consumption.
The two material choices cannot be easily resolved and yet, when placed together or woven into a fabric, they take on a new resonance. A kind of alchemy occurs in say Miracle Grow, where varied woven pieces, bright pink pom-poms of thread, antlers, and plastic flowers are attached to roughed up silver insulation that originally was used to protect the interior hood of a car. It is with great sensitivity that Thompson aligns these disparate objects, creating a taxonomy of talismans whose parts combined make up a greater whole.
Often provisional, Thompson’s sculptures work on both the macro and micro level. From afar Fertile Island resembles the land formation it is named after, up close it’s revealed to be composed of a series of human-made materials including roofing tiles, fake grass, and foam. The work resembles a caricature of an island and it is perhaps a sly warning about our on-going environmental crisis. A landmass of trash, a wrinkled piece of plastic fanning off from its side.
It is in the alignment of the very tangible representations of texture and color throughout her work that Thompson seeks to reveal and offer alternative, sometimes cosmic ways of being in the world. She is inspired by star formations and galaxies such as the Magellanic Cloud which she sees as reminders to always be searching for new portals, new ways of seeing. According to Thompson, revealing the invisible is a means to make real a “space or place by which things are coalesced and it is unclear whether they are coming into being or falling out of.” It is in the blurring of binaries that reveals optical illusions to be just that illusions. In referring to the unknown and infinite possibilities, Thompson prompts us to change: “We are in need of new ways of viewing / seeing / allying / rallying / gathering / communing / protesting / working / examining / existing & co-existing / loving / changing / being.”
-- Katie Geha, Director, Dodd Galleries
Zipporah Camille Thompson is a visual artist and sculptor based in Atlanta, Georgia. Thompson explores ritual and alchemical transformations through the unknown. Other worlds and hybrid landscapes seek to examine environmental heritage for black and brown bodies. Sculpted shapeshifters embody metamorphic processes, represent portals, and reflect various ecological, archaeological, and psychological perspectives, as well as a personal investigation of self, identity, and otherness.
Thompson received her MFA from the University of Georgia and her BFA from the University of North Carolina Charlotte. Her work has been featured in a number of print and online publications, including Sculpture Magazine and Art Papers. She has shown at the Zuckerman Museum of Art, Trestle Gallery in Brooklyn, Rogue Space in Chelsea, Gallery 400 in Chicago, IL and Whitespace Gallery in Atlanta, GA, as well as a host of other venues and spaces. Her work is included in numerous private collections. She is a 2016 Artadia (Atlanta) Finalist, a Hambidge Distinguished Fellow, (Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts & Sciences), a former resident of ACRE Projects and Elsewhere Museum, and is a Hambidge Creative Hive Project Artist. Thompson is most recently a recipient of the Zenobia Scholarship Award for residency at the Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, in Newcastle, ME, a recipient of the NCECA Multicultural Fellowship, and a recipient of the 2018 Idea Capital Grant in Atlanta, GA. She is currently an Artist-in-Studio Resident of The Creatives Program. She is represented by Whitespace Gallery in Atlanta, GA.
Thompson originally exhibited at the galleries in 2014. You can view that exhibition here. View her website here.