About the Exhibition

January 30, 2021 – May 2, 2021

MOWA | West Bend

Ever feel like time travel might be the answer?

Step back to the 1970s with Thomas Gondek. Using airbrushes and metallic automotive paint, Gondek turned reverse painting on Plexiglas into dynamic space-age forms that straddle painting and sculpture and reflect a generational interest in precise hard-edge abstraction. Influenced by the work of Wassily Kandinsky, Ellsworth Kelly, and Frank Stella, Gondek created tour de force perspectival compositions in which geometric forms and shapes float in milky white fields like stations in interstellar space. With echoes of Star Wars, the sleek bodies of 1970s Corvettes, and the mirrored walls of disco clubs, Gondek’s thoughtful and beautifully executed works transport us to another time.

In the summer of 2019, MOWA was fortunate to be gifted ten works from the late 1960s and early 1970s that exemplify Thomas Gondek’s mastery of nontraditional art techniques and materials. Born and raised in Milwaukee, Gondek graduated from the city’s Layton School of Art in 1967, and went on to earn an MFA degree from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in 1969. After a year-long Fulbright-Hayes Fellowship in Australia, he launched a highly successful forty-year career as an artist and teacher in the United States.