Thicket, Barn and Cross series
The painting above is from the Thicket series of paintings (2016–2017) by American artist Thomas Sayre. Created by smearing, gouging, and scraping tar over enamel paint on a white panel, the paintings evoke both the energy of cotton bolls bursting into view and the labor required to harvest the commodity for market. Arts writer Deidre S. Greben noted of this series “The successive veils of sepia-toned tar residue give Sayre’s composition pictorial depth and a seductive yet discomfiting beauty.”
Below is an example from the Barn series created by Sayre during the same period. Here, the artist again drags tar across the painting’s surface to produce narrow bands reminiscent of sunlight streaming duskily through chinks between the boards of an old barn.
An earlier work from Sayre’s Cross series is another example of the artist’s longtime use of tar as a painting medium.