Thomas J Price
Robert & Russell meet leading artist Thomas J Price (b. London, UK, 1981) .Price’s work across media, encompassing sculpture, film and photography, is engaged with issues of power, representation, interpretation and perception in society and in art. We discuss a wide range of his artworks from 'Reaching Out', a public sculpture depicting a young woman holding a mobile phone device in her hands, to the early performance piece, “Licked" (2001) to more recent large-scale “abstract” bronzes. Price has always utilised methods of presentation, material, scale, and detail in order to challenge viewers' expectations and assumptions.
As an artist who is primarily led by concepts, Price has long been exploring the use of “figurative” sculptures as a device to engage with viewers in specific ways. These sculptures function as psychological portraits, depicting imagined subjects, whose features are in fact an amalgamation of sources: observed individuals, 'types' represented in the media, and ancient, classical and neoclassical sculptures. In this way the works ultimately serve as psychological portraits of us, the viewers, by revealing our socially learned attitudes and understandings as we create identities for the depicted characters.
Importantly, Price’s practice extends beyond a strategy of figuration. In one example, sculptures of polished bronze are luxurious and monumental, first appearing to be abstract and rooted in the history of 20th century sculpture. They challenge our artistic institutions and the traditional holders of power to create an alternative narrative that seeks to highlight the mechanisms in place that reinforce cultural values.
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