Thomas Chimes Adventures in 'Pataphysics Michael R. Taylor

Publication date:
26 Apr 2007
Yale University Press
267 pages: 298 x 229mm
124 b-w + 150 color illus.

Thomas Chimes (b. 1921) is one of Philadelphia’s most important living artists. Tracing the stylistic evolution of Chimes’s idiosyncratic art, this handsome book presents a long-overdue survey of his remarkable five-decade career: canvases combining landscape imagery with symbols such as crucifixes (late 1950s–60s); mixed-media constructions set within finely crafted metal boxes (late 1960s–early 1970s); his best-known works, a series of 48 intimate sepia-toned panel portraits of 19th- and 20th-century writers and artists that are placed within oversized wood frames (1973–78); and the enigmatic “white paintings” of the past two decades.
The book reveals how Chimes has found inspiration in the writings of Antonin Artaud, James Joyce, and especially Alfred Jarry, the iconoclastic playwright and novelist whose invented “’Pataphysics”––the “science of imaginary solutions”––has provided the artist with a seemingly inexhaustible font of imagery.  Taylor explores the links between Chimes’s work and that of contemporaries such as Gerhard Richter, Cy Twombly, and Nancy Spero, as well as important predecessors like Vincent van Gogh, Marcel Duchamp, and fellow Philadelphian Thomas Eakins.

Michael R. Taylor is The Muriel and Philip Berman Curator of Modern Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art.

"Handsomely produced and lavishly illustrated, this volume celebrates one of our most versatile living artists."?Art Times

"The book is well written and informative, and Taylor's regard for the artist is evident. The text is inviting, made enjoyable by the fascinating connections and insights Taylor makes about the work of Chimes. The book is heavily illustrated with large high-quality images, and also includes a chronology and an exhibition history. Highly recommended."?Choice

"The work contains not only a generous sampling of Chimes' paintings?in all the varied and startling forms they've taken over the last five decades?but also a wonderful summary of just who and what has influenced this man throughout his creatively adventurous journey. . . . Everything that Taylor says about Chimes is right on the money."?Robert Leiter, Jewish Exponent

"[A] wonderfully readable rags-to-riches to wronged-by-London-elites tale of the journalist/discoverer."?Marvin Olasky, World Magazine