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Joe Nolan wrote this exhibition review.
The Abstractometry exhibit at The Frist Center for the Visual Arts is a diverse display of paintings, collage and video that explores the ways in which the geometry found in architecture and graphic design informs the visual understanding of a place. Of course, abstract art is always the product of very personal intentions and the show’s highlights demonstrate how abstractions may often speak more directly to concepts and emotions than figurative or realistic imagery.
The primary motif in Terry Thacker’s photocopy collages is a roller coaster being swallowed by flood waters. It’s a second generation print depicting an actual coaster on the New Jersey shore in the aftermath of hurricane Sandy. The image evokes scary summertime fun and a terrifying natural disaster simultaneously, creating a palpable tension like someone just dragged a phonograph needle across the joyous spinning of Frankie Cannon’s “Palisades Park.”
The roller coaster pieces in “Allegory: Petite Tigers” are similar to Thacker’s familiar abstract paintings – their process-based approach is evident in the repeating coaster motif and other elements that reiterate throughout his display. Most prominently, jagged black shapes copied on transparencies obscure the coasters, interrupting their sinewy lines and waterlogged turns. The ominous hues of the shapes imply dark intentions while their sharp angles suggest a predatory predisposition – just like the pointed head of a viper. Thacker’s dark abstractions represent nothing other than the fears and suspicions we may project onto them, and they’re a great example of the power of abstract images to evoke pure, intense emotional responses.