The first museum exhibition devoted to the visionary African American painter in more than twenty years, This House Is Mine traces Thompson’s brief but prolific transatlantic career, examining his formal inventiveness and his engagement with universal themes of collectivity, bearing witness, struggle, and justice. Over a mere eight years, he grappled with the exclusionary Western canon, developing a lexicon of enigmatic forms that he threaded through his work. Human and animal figures, often silhouetted and relatively featureless, populate mysterious vignettes set in wooded landscapes or haunt theatrically compressed spaces. Thompson reconfigures well-known compositions by European artists such as Piero della Francesca and Francisco de Goya through brilliant acts of formal distortion and elision, recasting these scenes in sumptuous colors.
Bringing together paintings and works on paper from almost fifty public and private collections across the United States, This House Is Mine centers Bob Thompson’s work within expansive art historical narratives and ongoing dialogues about the politics of representation, charting his enduring influence.