Native American tribes at one time believed that Earth was carried on the back of a giant turtle. Though this idea may seem silly now, Hollis Brown Thornton has taken this ancient concept and used it as the basis of his latest solo exhibit at the Linda Warren gallery. Thornton combines his paintings and his digital work to represent reality and virtual reality within our world and how both are valid realms of existence. The bigger paintings have a raw quality of physicality to them, whereas his eight-by-ten-inch prints of manipulated family photographs and sketches are manipulated to the point of fantasy. Bright colors are predominant throughout the exhibit, ranging from multi-colored mountains to bright, almost sun-like colors splashed onto the canvas. The paintings and prints may not be strong alone but together they create a complete story. Thornton says that the figures present in his smaller pieces are the main characters in his story about our Earth and it’s relation to the virtual world and outer space, two places inconceivable and vast to most human beings. One painting, depicting an astronaut floating in endless space only attached to life by his breathing tube, shows how isolated we can be in a realm we strive to conquer. Another, a print of the html code for his Web site, makes something tangible in the internet world abstract in reality. The interplay between Thornton’s work is fantastic, a great juxtaposition between fact and fiction. (Amy Dittmeier)
Through August 16 at Linda Warren Gallery, 1052 W. Fulton Market, (312)-432-9500.