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Fine Art PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Painting beyond the landscape – Thomas Paquette’s painting at Erie Art Museum

On display in Erie Art Museum’s Spring Show is a painting by veteran landscape painter Thomas Paquette that is more than atypical for him. It depicts no landscape – in fact nothing at all – as a nonobjective painting.

People familiar with works by veteran landscape painter Thomas Paquette may be surprised by his new painting, “Font,” on display at the Erie Art Museum. It is exhibited in their Spring Show which opens March 15 and includes works by 68 other selected regional artists.

Paquette, who lives in Warren, Pennsylvania, is nationally recognized for his landscape paintings going back to the late 1980s – with over sixty solo exhibitions in galleries and museums across the country and paintings displayed around the world in U.S. embassies.

But “Font,” his painting in the exhibition, does not depict any landscape. Instead, the thickly layered oil painting, which measures about a square foot and an inch thick with paint, is non-objective and depicts nothing at all. Even though Paquette has been making works like this for seven years, the Erie show is only the second time he offered to exhibit any of them outside his studio. The first time was in a solo exhibition four years ago at a museum near St Louis, Missouri.

“My dealers love my landscape paintings, so that is what I send them,” the painter said. “I haven’t told them about these works.”

He started making these paintings as an enjoyable, environmental way to reduce the sometimes large quantities of excess paint left on his palette after working on large landscape paintings. Instead of sending those leftovers to a landfill, he challenged himself to make art from paint that would otherwise be discarded, adding no fresh colors from a tube. Not painting an object, such as a landscape, opened new ways to paint without having to mimic the look of something else. “Font” just happened to come to resemble a volcano from above, hence the title.

Paquette explains, “The one rule is that the paint can only be left-over from another painting. Nothing is planned. It’s all experimental. If I feel the painting needs new colors, I just have to wait for different colors to show up in decent quantities to use. It might take a few days for that. It can also be years before anything workable turns up for a painting. Using new paint would defeat the purpose, of course. They can’t be rushed.”

A case in point, “Font” was begun in 2018 and was still being painted on in early 2024.

More on his nonobjective works here:

Erie Art Museum’s Spring Show, where that painting and many other artists’ works are on display, was juried by San Diego artist Tanya Aguiñiga, and will continue through August 9 following a public opening reception at 6pm on Friday, March 15.

Thomas Paquette’s oil painting “Font” in the Erie Art Museum exhibition