Tom Thayer’s work is both literally light and is about the condition of lightness: birds, appropriately, are his chosen metaphor. Like the sculptor Brancusi, who made use of birds’ associative qualities – soaring, skimming, diving – as the visual correlative of the modern mind, Thayer finds parallels between his subject’s physical delicacy and a human sense of fragility and transience.
He has said that he aims to “isolate and extract some of our most touching qualities about being alive, and examine them for a moment.” Using corrugated cardboard loosely coloured in crayon, Thayer constructs spindly variants on birds of various kinds, suspending them from strings like marionettes.
The sculptures’ fragile construction and susceptibility to small breezes – even the movement of visitors to the gallery causes minor nods and swivels – demands a certain kind of engagement from the viewer: the cautious contemplation of one unwilling to disturb a creature in its natural habitat.
Thayer’s interest is in the transformative power of visual art: found scraps of paper become lyrical metaphor, and works on the wall seem to overstep their boundaries, as though slipping between the real and imagined.