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Full Length Fictional Portraits
all 90 x 30"
Tom Ferguson
1986 - 2000

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Installation, Nexus Contemporary Art Center
Larry & Vivian
The Taker Under
In Her Own Way
Commodities Speculator
Partially Empowered
The Elder
War Relic
Mayor Pro Temp
The Street
Steppin Out
Looking Back at Baghdad
Make a Map
His Harness
Two White Guys
Some Other Someone
Where Everybody Goes

Looking Just Like This
Having to be Somewhere
Larry & His Harness

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 Most of these paintings are oil on canvas, with an occasional acrylic, on canvas or panel. I started this format in 1986, after having done heads for two years, 27 x 23". My joke, "they're a logical extension of the head ", remains woefully under appreciated.

The 19th century society portrait painters - Whistler, Eakins, Sargent, Henri... worked twice as high as wide when doing the full length likeness. Tripling instead of doubling helps transform the picture toward caricature. Distortion arises from this extreme format. Distortion also comes from cubist devices all of which flatten the picture in good modernist manner.

I attribute at least 2/3 value to color/surface, 1/3 to subject.

Subject refers to characters in the world, us, satirically but with respect. We stand here on the blue jewel, reflecting on mortality, eternity, infinity, in a pause before lifting a glass with the laughing Cavalier.

Another means to reflection and celebration is color & surface, which in their diverse combinations & implications, speak to our emotions and intellect. They actualize
possibilities, represent choices and so honor the creative process and mirror the unfolding of life, or as Tolle so uniquely puts it, the manifest.

Commercially the full figures didn't go over. I got reports that they just didn't fit into a space very well. I did sell 5-6 tho. I doggedly used the format up until about 2000. I did other formats also, small panels & canvases and eventually the found objects.

I did residencies for the Ga. Council for the Arts from 1988, doing an 18 week one in S. GA. and shorter ones in Dublin, GA. and a few other sites. Atlanta College of Art took me on as adjunct in their painting dept. for 5 semesters, until we left for Milwaukee. I also did yearly, then bi-yearly inspections & cleaning of the Cyclorama. 

I had started playing music with Zack Harrison. my original songs, & when I returned from Milwaukee we went electric. Nevin Lash & Cyndia joined us - keybds & drums, Whatley Fenlon made a heroic effort to learn a set of songs to perform with us at Backdrop Gallery & several others. When I started getting infatuated with sequencing the band drifted off. Sometimes in conjunction with the band i'd do political cartoon exhibits, performing at the openings. Did one in Asheville, NC. & several in & around Atlanta.

My painting exhibiting tapered off as I got more involved in music. I was still painting but not pushing for shows. Sandler Hudson did not want to show the full length paintings any longer as they had placed several & it just didn't work... too high for most home spaces, or not the right shape. so without them my next exhibit was too small for their main space. We went with the small space in 2000 and it sold well, got good press. I exhibited the Full Length figures at the airport atrium & a gallery saw them, wanted to show them but shied off at the possible conflict with Sandler Hudson. I also showed them at Backdrop Gallery where the band, Thinkspeak was our name, played. Backdrop was an alternative space, not really commercial.


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