Inflated Steel Sculptures by Jeremy Thomas
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
Terminal 3, Level 4, Gallery
Exhibition runs through May 10, 2020
Next time you pass through Terminal 3 of the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport we recommend you visit Airborne, a solo exhibition by Jeremy Thomas, a Bentley Gallery artist. The exhibition comprises of artworks from Bentley Gallery and the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (smoca.org).
How do you make something out of thin air? In the hands of sculptor Jeremy Thomas, air is a major component of his art making process. Inspired by seeing old farm equipment scattered about in fields in the Midwest where he grew up, he uses steel, air and paint to create colorful metal sculptures.
Thomas begins his process by cutting geometric shapes, such as circles or ellipses, from a steel plate. He then creates dimensional forms by folding and welding the shapes together, leaving an internal space that can be filled with air. The structure is heated in a forge to about 2000 degrees, making the metal malleable or elastic-like. The red-hot piece is removed from the forge and injected with pressurized air, causing it to inflate and grow into its final shape. With no top or bottom, completed objects can be viewed from any angle, inviting the viewer to look at all sides.
The resulting sculptures represent chance and contrast. Hard metal forms are altered by the lightness of air. Geometric shapes are transformed to appear soft and organic. The object’s surfaces are painted with vibrant colors gleaned from farm equipment, auto and cosmetic industries, along with natural, velvety rust patinas. The spontaneity of the inflation process creates unexpected creases, bulges and folds. Air gives life to the object—it is Airborne.
Bentley Gallery thanks the Phoenix Airport Museum for recognizing Jeremy Thomas’ work, and for putting on this magnificent exhibition.