Wednesday, March 02, 2011

HUMANSCAPE: Paintings by Tomas Co at Reflection Gallery in March

Mingus by Tomas Co. Click on images for larger versions. (Photo courtesy Finlandia University)

HANCOCK -- The Finlandia University Reflection Gallery, Hancock, will host an exhibit of paintings by Tomas Co March 1 to March 31, 2011. An opening reception and artist talk will take place from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m Thursday, March 3, at the Reflection Gallery. The reception is open to the public and refreshments will be served.

Titled "HUMANSCAPE: Explorations in Sumi-E," Co’s exhibit explores the human condition by combining eastern and western styles of painting and incorporating traditional and modern approaches to the aesthetics of philosophy.

Sumi-e ink and watercolor are Co’s mediums. Describing the use of these two water-based media together, he notes that, "the main thrill of the incomplete control of both these water-based media has given me a terrific and awkward scalpel to explore the genius and imperfections, beauty and ugliness, goodness and evil that surround us."

Amoureux by Tomas Co. (Photo courtesy Finlandia University)

Co believes that art is the most human means of expression and communication. He says, "The purest forms of art stem from the primordial needs to externalize, articulate, and sometimes exorcise the internal struggles, confusion, rationality, and personal essence."

Co says his creative process entails sketching images recalled from the media, memories, and conversations, while drawing inspiration from shapes and brushstrokes that encourage him to explore his subject matter further.

With each sketch, the narrative of Co’s paintings grows and changes. He notes that, especially for subjects and characters that are already well-known, he researches them further, imagining their successes, failures, pressures, and conflicts, and the possible scenarios they might have experienced.

When asked to show his work at the Reflection Gallery, Co was at first unsure of what he could contribute. But after some encouragement, he accepted.

"I have seen some presentations and exhibits at the Reflection Gallery, and I found the artists and audience were very open with fresh enthusiasm and ideas. So I thought, why not?" Co says. "Maybe as an outsider of the art profession, I can offer a naive perspective, and I am sure that the community will be able to give some exciting and interesting perspectives."

The Warrior by Tomas Co. (Photo courtesy Finlandia University)

Tomas Co is an associate professor of chemical engineering at Michigan Technological University, Houghton. He has a bachelor of science and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of the Philippines and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, respectively.

The Reflection Gallery is located on the second level of Finlandia’s Jutila Center campus, 200 Michigan St., Hancock.

For additional information, please contact Yueh-mei Cheng, Finlandia professor of studio arts, at 906-487-7375, or e-mail

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