As was expected, Storm Tharp’s new show at PDX is so inspiring. He follows his heart to unsettling places with finesse.
Your first thought on the portraits is Francis Bacon, but with a finer line. Tharp flames his technical charms via a variety of patterns, treatments in the paper, strange area shifts, ink and pigment bleeds. He confidently flushes big and loose color.
The faces aren’t easy to live with either. Most of them are an aggressive reminder of Leigh Bowery, a flamboyant character of the British ‘80s art, music and style scene. The portraits don’t have quite the same shock value as what Bowery came up with, but the provocative and disturbing model is on a similar order.