Michael C. Thorpe: 14 Years Old

  • NEW YORK, New York
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  • November 03, 2022

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Michael C. Thorpe: 14 Years Old
November 10 – December 31, 2022

New York, NY — Beginning November 10, 2022, Forum Gallery will present 14 Years Old, the inaugural New York solo exhibition for Michael C. Thorpe. At just 28 years of age, Thorpe is an exciting young artist who has burst on to the art scene telling stories about his world expressed in quilts of colorful fabric, meandering stitching and printed canvas, in playful pencil and stitched drawings, and in surprising sculptural works. 14 Years Old presents thirty new works by Thorpe and continues through December 31, 2022.

Thorpe came to quilting as an artistic vehicle connecting him to his bi-racial background.  Quilting is a skill passed on intergenerationally by the matriarchs of Thorpe’s family who were part of the quilting community in New England. Thorpe’s subsequent discovery of the Gee’s Bend community of African American women quilters in Alabama offered the Artist deeper personal meaning in his chosen medium and a connection to his African American heritage.

Recalling his time playing competitive basketball, his friends, family and inspirational figures, Thorpe transports us into the richly diverse community he inhabits encouraging dialogue between people from all walks of life with a generosity of spirit no better exemplified than in the alluring, whimsical Atlanta House Party (40” x 33”). In equal measure, Thorpe’s illuminating juxtapositions highlight cultural issues in two ingenious, quilted collages, Whole Family (62” x 46”) and LOT (63” x 46”), both inspired by Thorpe’s reading of Ebony magazine. “Before I had ever opened Ebony I thought it was all about celebration of black life however it was far greater than that. It really shed a light on the black experience and talked about topics that are deeply connected to the human experience,” Thorpe observes.

A thirst for learning has led Thorpe to the work of artists as wide ranging as Milton Avery, Alvaro Barrington, Romare Bearden, David Hockney, Lubaina Himid, David Hockney, Martin Kippenberger, Jacob Lawrence, Robert Rauschenberg, and Jonas Wood. Thorpe’s boundless imagination and experimental vision has resulted in daring works like Studio Window (84” x 78”) a found gate repurposed into a woven landscape, and the witty Mikey’s Secret Hideout, a wooden cubby-house enclosing a domestic scene in soft-sculpture. His sense of place and the close personal relationships central in Thorpe’s life are shared with us in finely crafted, visually bold quilts, including Corner (38” x 24”), inspired by his mother’s home, and Gunther Place (60” x 85”), the largest quilt in the exhibition and a striking, psychedelically colorful interpretation of the apartment he shares with his partner. 

Michael C. Thorpe was raised in Newton, MA and earned his BA from Emerson College in Boston, MA where he studied photojournalism. Before his first solo exhibition, Thorpe attracted the attention of NPR, who wrote an article about his story and dedication to creating art in the medium of quilting. Press articles about Michael C. Thorpe have been published in Artscope Magazine, Boston Art Review, The Boston Globe, CNN Style, Cultured Magazine, Howl, and PBS among others. Thorpe was recently featured in a Dove Men+Care television commercial and he participated in a collaboration with Nike and the NBA for the league’s 75th anniversary. 

Works by Michael C. Thorpe have been added to the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and numerous private collections. Thorpe’s work is currently included in Storied Strings: The Guitar in American Art, an exhibition organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA and traveling to the Frist Art Museum in Nashville, TN. His work will be included in Fabric of a Nation: American Quilt Stories, organized and first presented at the MFA Boston and opening on November 17, 2022 at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, CA. His work will also be featured in group exhibitions at The Textile Museum, The George Washington University Museum, Washington, D.C. and the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, NY in 2023. Michael C. Thorpe will have one man shows at the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, MA and the Paul R. Jones Museum, University of Alabama in 2024.

A 38-page full-color catalogue accompanies the exhibition.

You are invited to explore our Online Viewing Room for 14 Years Old here:

Ilana Jade Roth
Forum Gallery

Forum Gallery
475 Park Avenue
New York, New York
About Forum Gallery

Forum Gallery was founded in New York City in 1961 as a gallery of American figurative art. Among the first artists represented were Raphael Soyer, Chaim Gross, David Levine and Gregory Gillespie. The gallery was a founding member of the Art Dealers Association of America in 1962. From inception, Forum Gallery’s contemporary exhibition program has been augmented by mounting curated, thematic exhibitions of historic importance, in keeping with the gallery’s focus on humanism. Forum Gallery’s program expanded in the 1980’s, and the gallery soon represented the American artists William Beckman and Robert Cottingham as well as the Norwegian painter Odd Nerdrum. Today, in addition to these artists, Forum Gallery represents more than twenty American and European artists and estates, including the Spanish masters Cesar Galicia and Guillermo Munoz Vera. American artists whose work is now represented by Forum Gallery include Steven Assael, Tula Telfair, Linden Frederick, Alan Magee and Brian Rutenberg. Forum Gallery regularly exhibits at art fairs throughout the United States. The gallery exhibited at the inaugural edition of The Art Show (ADAA – Park Avenue Armory) and has since participated twenty times. An early exhibitor at the Chicago International Art Exposition at Navy Pier, Forum now exhibits at ExpoChicago annually. In 2000, Forum Gallery mounted an Odd Nerdrum exhibition at the FIAC in Paris, and today the gallery exhibits regularly at fairs in San Francisco, New York, Miami, Houston, Seattle and Chicago. A service business focused on customer satisfaction, Forum Gallery looks forward to every opportunity to assist collectors, experienced and new.

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