A B O U T

THOMAS ROTH

Thomas Roth was trained at Beckmans College of Art and Design in Stockholm, Sweden; a hotbed of minimal high design. His background is grounded in Minimalist Art and Design. He garnered over 300 awards in the advertising industry during his career as an Art Director. His corporate commissions included Volvo, Kodak, Intel, IBM, Cisco, Microsoft, and Visa. His work has been exhibited at the National Museum of Art in Stockholm, Sweden as well as galleries in New York and LA. His Fine Art is found in corporate and private collections across the US and Europe.

His Fine Art evolved from early Surrealism and Hyper-realism, to Pop, to Contemporary Minimalism. Roth recently became known for his exclusive use of white. It was process based relief work with great surface tension. His focus was on the surface structure and the effects of light and shadow on that surface. His started with common and recycled materials. These items, while infinitely available, allowed Roth to create extraordinarily unique work.The play with light blurred the boundaries between painting and sculpture. He emphasized repetition with variation, allowing each piece to evolve intuitively rather than forcing the medium to conform to a concept. He surrendered himself to the uncertainties of his method. He saw the process as an “improvised dance with the medium leading to surprises and spontaneous effects”. 

His most recent bold and playful Contemporary Abstractions have become his current signature work. They begin with the pure creative play of shapes and colors that he allows to evolve and become whatever they wish. His process has a childlike innocent openness that is rare. The resulting optimism of the work is a delight.

ART LTD MAGAZINE. MARCH / APRIL 2016

We live in a material world, and mixed-media artist Tom Roth is a material guy. He’s interested in what happens at the edges of empiricism, when things fall apart, and centers cease to hold. His work comments on the accu- mulation of objects and items in our post –industrial lifestyles, and the scale of the systems of mass production consumed with producing consumables.

Where Warhol gave people what they wanted in the form of Marilyn and Elvis, Roth provides a perfectly warped picnic of plastic products. Some of the best of the nearly all white works in the show are wrought from (spastic) plastic forks, and sliced Styrofoam cups. Even during these deeply jaded days there is something slightly auda- cious about making your art out of disposables. Not that everybody from Duchamp to Tuttle hasn’t already, but as Tom Roth’s exhibition goes to show, the fine line between what lands in the landfill, and what wears well on the wall is exactly the point.

Roth wins the priced golden hot-glue gun for his gestural abstractions accomplihed in this largely under-ex- plored medium, and in the even stickier substance of silicon caulk. In a signature Rothian turn the stuff that oth- er artists use to glue their work together, the unacknowledged, invisible in-betweens, become both subject and object of his practice. The large chevron diptych (titled G2 and G3) is an especially excellent example.

Moon craters, rings of Saturn, planetary topographies, and other interstellar associations orbit the small square piece G6, composed primarily of the aforementioned sliced Styrofoam beverage containers. Transformation of materials and ultimately the transformation of our material culture are the key concepts for grasping the sig- nificance of Roth’s process. Like Lee Bontecou, Roth produces work in an idiosyncratic visual language that is entirely his own. The most radical alteration, the show’s masterpiece, takes the form of a large vertical relief, that protrudes nearly a foot off the wall, composed primarily of melted plastic picnic forks with an overlay of plastic sheeting, also subjected to heating, melting and tearing. Reminiscent of a giant papery insect nest, or some nat- ural mineral accretion on a cave wall, the sense of looking through holes and tears in the overlay to the twisted, nearly unrecognizable forks within evokes a strong sense of interiority, and affords wonderful moments of curi- ous exploration and intimate discovery, which is really what art is all about, after all.

Jon Carver (Art Ltd Magazine, March / April 2016