FRANCIS ROTHBART HC
RELEASE DATE: 12/14/2022
(W) Woodruff, Thomas (A) Woodruff, Thomas (CA) Woodruff, Thomas
A stunning, head-turning, "graphic opera" masterpiece
from an acclaimed painter and illustrator.
Francis Rothbart follows a feral child who is raised by magpies and
other creatures and is repeatedly struck by lightning. Because of
these phenomena, the child develops eccentric talents, which he
then abuses, leading to his ultimate destruction by the same natural
world that once nurtured him.
Written mostly in rhymed verse, Francis's picaresque saga
unfolds in an allegorical environment, much like the topographical
constructions behind renaissance religious paintings. Referencing
both the Venetian landscapes of Bellini, Pierro di Cosimo, and Carpaccio,
mixed with the unlikely animated backdrops of Jay Ward
and Chuck Jones, Woodruff's images recall the fictive gardens of a
paradise lost that lingers somewhere deep in all our souls, moist and dark like the
caves of the pious saints.
Combining both paintings and drawings, each scene is a visual and verbal feast
that transports us to a place in which trees anthropomorphize into figures bending
from the weight of stalactite crowns, an iris becomes the gown for an oneiric sprite,
and the sky rains down tears, as if mimicking the melancholy of a weeping willow.
In a muted palette, Woodruff's carbon and white charcoal pencil drawings bring
us ever closer to this mythical ecology. The artist lovingly focuses on every detail:
ethereal, fragile blossoms, petals, roots, and leaves; impressively observed wildlife
creatures; and each curve of the hand lettered text is rendered by the delicate hand
of an illustrative obsessionist with a penchant for the poignant. Woodruff's images
are multi-sourced amalgamations that echo with familiarity, portraying a world
that is not only our own but also exists in the place of our half-remembered dreams.
Thomas Woodruff's works have been included in numerous exhibitions nationally
and internationally including the Whitney Museum of Art (NY), The Norman Rockwell
Museum (MA), the Kohler Arts Center (WI), and the National Gallery of Australia. He
lives in upstate New York
FOC DATE: 1/0/1900