A L L Y___T H O M P S O N

Unlike the warnings of a thousand sci-fi films and books, Ally Thompson’s concern is not with any physical takeover of men by machines, but rather with the annihilation of individuality, the marginalisation of spirituality, even of our humanity itself, by the inexorable growth of “Business”. In his “Surrealist” paintings: monsters of the machine age, or of this new genetic age, seem to threaten us with everything we let loose in the 20th century: rampant greed, aggressive sexuality, unchecked domination of the weak by the strong, and always; vanity. But this theme also flows seamlessly into Thompson’s other styles of work. In his expressionist landscapes, the natural world becomes super-charged with his emotions. A tree, a solitary house, a church with a twisted spire, somehow acquire the power of a crucifix: symbols of eternal yearning, of suffering, of loneliness, but always, ultimately: heroism. Thompson tries to enable us to see the world for a moment with the innocent eyes of a baby, before words and materialism took us over. He wants to make even the simplest landscape into something heartbreaking of which we feel we are an intimate part: as if the very leaves and grass of the thing were enacting our emotions. He builds a monument of the human longing which the genetic age has failed to map, of the keystone without which our Towers of Babel will always fall. In a third strand of Thompson’s work, strange forms like overgrown cities or poisoned forests seem to gesture on the threshold of some new transformation, watched over by enigmatic moons. If these are post-apocalyptic, then the apocalypse is not necessarily literal. They represent the end of the usefulness of our society to us as spiritual beings, and therefore suggest: a dawn in which the ashes of human folly can find rebirth in nature. They depict the possibility of a new language, perhaps nature’s own language, through which mankind might finally learn to commune with creation itself.

(Taken from the November 2003 catalogue of The Seagull Gallery exhibition in Gourock, copyright(c) Douglas Thompson).