Bruce Thorn was born in Chicago in 1952, a first generation American from a multi-cultural background. He knew that he would be an artist from the first time he picked up a crayon.
The pictures kept coming, jumping out of his imagination onto paper, a necessary constant companion and anchor. He earned a B.F.A. in Painting and Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1975, where he had the good fortune to study with Ray Yoshida, Emilio Cruz and Paula Gerard.
Thorn earned an M.F.A. from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1987. Martin Puryear, Dennis Kowalski, Phyllis Bramson, Susan Sensemann and Dan Ramirez were his graduate advisors. His M.F.A. thesis was titled “Ethereal Vibrations in the Visual Arts.”
In 1982, Thorn’s artwork had been taken on by Zaks Gallery in Chicago. In his first showing at the gallery in 1986, he exhibited a series of painted, mixed media constructions. By 1996, his solo exhibition there was all abstract oil paintings.
Major inspirations for his painting include Ivan Albright, Mark Tobey, Jackson Pollock, Larry Poons, Hieronymus Bosch, Albrecht Durer and Karl Wirsum. Thorn works primarily with oil paint, which offers the accuracy, transparency and color luminescence that are so important to him.
Well into his career as a painter, in 2016 he took up an active interest in writing essays and reviews about art, which were published in Neoteric Art and the New Art Examiner from 2016-2019. Learning to write critically had a tremendous effect on his own art practice, and painting took over everything again.
Bruce Thorn has maintained a vibrant art practice throughout his entire life. A previous recipient of a Pollock-Krasner award, his work is in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Ukrainian Institute of Art, Chicago, the Roger Brown Study Collection, Chicago, and the Flaten Art Museum in Northfield Minnesota.
Bruce Thorn, March 25, 2023
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