Mysterious faces

Artist gives only clues to those in his paintings

The current Rankin Art Gallery exhibit, “Visionaries and Malcontents,” features oil paintings with titles that give small hints to whom the paintings feature.

Thomas Post, creator of the paintings and professor of painting and fine arts at Kendall College, doesn’t want people to easily identify who’s who.

“I didn’t want to lay it out there; I just give little clues—just a sound bite in the title to make it more intriguing,” Post said. “People ask me all the time who are in my paintings. When you’re given the answer all the time, it’s easy to pass through. I want people to see the layers.”

Post has been a professor at Kendall for three years. He first became interested in art in elementary school. His passion for fine arts continued through high school and into college. He creates his artwork at a studio at Kendall where students can stop in and chat with him while he’s creating masterpieces. Paintings exhibition took anywhere from two and a half weeks to a month. His favorite medium to work with is oil.

“I like the versatility of it [oil],” Post said. “It can be very strong and opaque or subtle and transparent. The surfaces are very lush, deep and beautiful. You can control the depth and layering. People understand there’s multiple layers and spatial relationships.”

The inspiration for these paintings came from one of Post’s previous series of paintings featuring normal objects painted in Andy Warhol colors. This evolved into painting celebrities as “almost objects.” Post wanted to play on the idea of the way people objectify their heroes.

“The heroic aspect of paintings is personal to me. Those featured in my artwork have personal references to me and my work,” Post said.

One of Post’s favorite paintings is entitled “There” and depicts Sonic Youth’s singer and guitarist Thurston Moore. Post shed some light on the meaning behind the title.

“In one of his solo recordings, Moore made a homemade recording of himself at the age of 13. In it, he recorded different sounds he made with various objects, such as snipping scissors or tapping pencils,” Post said. “At the end of each sound episode, Moore would say ‘there.’ It acted as a punctuation mark between noises.”

The rest of Post’s titles and paintings viewers will have to piece together on their own.

The Rankin Art Gallery is featuring Post’s work until April 28.