Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

  • Peter G. Thompson
    born 1939
    born: New Haven, Connecticut, United States ; active: United States
  • Frame, 2014
  • Where object was made: Lawrence, Kansas, United States
  • inkjet print
  • Image Dimensions Height/Width: 32 1/4 x 20 in
    Frame Dimensions: 36 1/2 x 24 1/4 x 1 in
    Weight: 8 lbs
  • Museum purchase: Anonymous gift and Peter T. Bohan Art Acquisition Fund
  • Not on display
  • 2015.0150
Label Text

Exhibition Label:
"Soundings", 15-Sep-2018
Peter Thompson’s early works conformed to the abstract tendencies of mid-century modernism exemplified by his Yale art school teachers, Al Held and Jack Tworkow. “I’m a ‘50s kind of
guy,” he once remarked with a laugh. A longtime member of the KU faculty who served as chair of the Department of Painting and Sculpture and later Dean of Fine Arts, Thompson helped devise the curriculum that shaped several generations of creative Jayhawks. His own creative work is seen in the stained glass windows and organ frame in the Bales Recital Hall, and in work
on view in the lobby of the Lied Center, a major campus addition whose planning and construction he oversaw.
In 1999, upon his retirement from administration, colleagues presented him with a special gift, a digital camera. With that the creative life of the painter and draftsman was transformed. The
‘50s guy became a 21st-century one. Although working with a medium new to him, Thompson quickly showed the persistence of a fine compositional sense and a reverence for abstract design that had distinguished his earlier work. Frame is part of a series of photographs closely focused on commonplace objects found in a typical American household, like this metal picture frame. But, as shown here, Thompson could capture his subjects in such a manner as to make them nearly—or completely—abstract, at least momentarily disorienting the viewer with a radically simple design
in sharp black and white. CCE