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“Emily Thompson/Painting the Garden State” is open at SFA Gallery


It’s late in the afternoon on a humid Thursday in June, and Emily Thompson is on a mission. She is crouched in an empty parking lot, camera in hand, surveying the ruins of an ice cream shop, a once-popular spot in New Jersey.

She is trying to frame the building in the weeds and underbrush that now surround it. She is in a hurry. The light is now at the perfect angle, and as it rakes over the scene, it reveals every surface in its pitted and stained glory.

Emily Thompson looks to the state of New Jersey for her artistic inspiration. Where others see only ugliness and blight this artist finds beauty and a never-ending supply of compelling subjects: industrial scenes, roadside architecture and vintage signage, old bowling alleys, motels and diners.

Thompson’s paintings combine these recognizable images with textured, expressionistic brushwork and a broad color palette. A close inspection reveals marks made with gusto and assurance, though Thompson is quick to point out that all the painterly issues and decisions are only in service of the mood and “nostalgic feeling of the painting.”

Thompson attended the prestigious High School of Art & Design and The School of Visual Arts in New York. She is an award-winning artist with work in private collections throughout the United States and Europe.

“Emily Thompson/Painting the Garden State,” Iconic and Offbeat Locations in the Great State of New Jersey is on view noon to 4 p.m. Thursday-Sunday and by appointment through June 30, at the Schmidtberger Fine Art Gallery, 10 Bridge St., Frenchtown, N.J.

Visit online or call 908-268-1700.

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