Margot Thompson

Margot Voorhies Thompson is a painter, printmaker, designer and calligrapher who creates studio work as well as public art projects. She was an Eliot scholar at Reed College and also studied at PNCA, Lewis and Clark College and the Hochschule Fur Kunsterlische in Linz, Austria. She is represented by the Laura Russo Gallery. Her public commissions include projects at the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, the Woodstock Public Library, Portland State University and the State of Oregon Library. She is currently completing a commission for the Oregon State Hospital in Salem.

“Over my career, my interest in calligraphy has led me to create my own vernacular alphabets that reference elements of historical letterforms. My intention is to combine both archaic and futuristic elements while encoding beneath the surface poetry, literature and song. The invention of language and writing systems is a uniquely human phenomenon. Similar to nature, linguistics has the ability to reinvent itself and adapt over time, or run to extinction. This loss of diversity echoes the fate of our plant and animal kingdoms.

By creating my own alphabets, the meaning and impact of the language is changed. The components are abstracted into indecipherable line and shape as I incorporate them into my paintings and prints. I am interested in deconstructing and recreating the language using repeated characters, line spacing and other patterns related to writing, books and scrolls. The meaning of this abstraction is to question what is being communicated. I want the viewer to interpret and wonder anew what they see, much like an archaeological find where an artifact inscribed with a mysterious form transcends symbolism, turning into something more elemental.

In my work as a calligrapher, printmaker and painter, tools and surfaces determine the character of the writing and inscription. I have employed a wide variety of tools in developing the various layers in my pieces. The addition, subtraction and partial eradication of layers becomes a palimpsest, symbolic for the passage of time. The text is transformed as if by its history through time, weather and the human touch. Now the computer becomes a speedy collage tool, recreating writing and images. I try to bring the ancient and the contemporary together in my methods, my references and within my art.” (2008)