I was drawn to Dom’s paintings from the first time I saw them - which was in reproduction. Sometimes one is impressed by a reproduction with its concentration of colour but then the real thing turns out to be a bit disappointing. Actually the opposite happened with Dom’s pictures: they acquired a new and more vivid life when I saw them in the flesh. They are powerful paintings.
In fact they keep opening up the more you look at them. I have three of his pictures in my house, and they get better with every passing month. I really can’t identify quite what it is that gets my attention, and holds it, but perhaps that is something one never understands about a good piece of work.
I don’t know where these fit into the jargon of contemporary art. They make me think of Stuart Davis a bit, or more distantly of Manny Farber. For me they have a quiet but powerful presence that I like in my life.
When I was about nine or ten a marvellous thing happened to me.
I was sitting in a comfy chair at home, I think I may have been alone, just gazing and day dreaming. My eyes eventually came to rest on a black bakelite plug junction which stood well proud of the wall. As I looked, this thing I’d seen a thousand times lost all meaning, all connections were cut and for the life of me I couldn’t tell what the object was, what it did or why it was there.
Much later I learned that I’d had the good fortune to experience ‘Jamais Vu’, the feeling that one is observing an object for the very first time with no prior knowledge as to its function or purpose. It strikes me now that it is just this quality that Dom Theobald strives for- and obtains- in his visual images. He allows us to sense the sublime in what is obstensibly the mundane.
Dom is a very clever man who attended a most prestigious art school and one of his great skills is that he has not let either of these blind him to innocence. He takes as models shoes, bowls, spoons- things around the house- and turns these into little bits of magic. This he does without any of the tricks Magritte used, he’s much subtler than that, more like joyfilled Matisse perhaps, he paints,to my mind, how a child might see the world- as a vast exciting place filled with unattached possibilities and filled with colour.
Careful thought goes into the composition and construction of his paintings, etchings and photography, yet none of this is obvious- he avoids appearing to be a ‘clever’ painter and this for me is one of his great attributes as an artist. It takes a really good painter to be bold enough to appear simplistic.
My home is full of Dom’s paintings, he has designed my record covers and has created several ‘foreground’ films for my solo piano concerts- these moving images (in both senses of the word) allowing my few quiet notes to become accompaniments to his work. For me, they introduce how he allows elements of the world to be seen into the way that I attempt to express my own, through music.
Dom Theobald allows me to remember that, even though the world can be a difficult place to exist in, when looked at with open eyes even lost shoes, crockery and spoons can remind us of the essential wonder of being alive.
Born in Surrey in 1963, Dom Theobald studied at Norwich School of Art, where his tutor Derrick Greaves was a particular influence, before going on to complete an M.A. in Fine Art at the Slade School of Fine Art in 1993, during which time he specialised in printmaking. Two years after graduating Dom returned to Norfolk and Ditchingham House, near Bungay, where he has lived and worked ever since, showing regularly in galleries in this country and in Europe and the USA over much of that time.
Dom Theobald‘s luminously coloured and richly textured semi-abstract works derive from a wide variety of sources - cartoon forms, music, botanical drawings, documentary photographs, film and found objects among them. From these he draws out images as varied as dragonfly wings and shoes, leaves and pools, lungs and bones, moons and feathers, images which, when set against the intense colours and densely worked surfaces that form the ‘backgrounds’ of his works, become metaphors for the sifting and selection of thoughts and feelings that the memory becomes involved in during the slow process of making a painting. For Dom this is a process whereby the background becomes a kind of ‘net’ in which these forms, or ‘stones’ as he likes to call them, have been caught or dredged, each of them resonant with meaning and a vivid sense of life. Intensely poetic too, is the way in which these forms come to echo and reinforce each other, pulsating, not just across the picture surface but also from work to work, in a vibrant and impassioned statement of belief in how the magical ordinariness of things can come to embody the most profound sensations of the sacred and numinous.
Selected Group Exhibitions
1989 ‘Multiple Art’, Hamburg
1990 Kunsthochfachschule, Kiel
1990 Kulturministerium, Kiel
1990 ‘Fresh Art’, Business Design Centre, London
1991 ‘Print Europe’, Barbican, London
1991 Bankside Gallery, London
1992 Amadora Print Biennale, Portugal
1992 ‘Painting Today’, Bonhams, London
1992 National Theatre, London
1992 Casa das Artes, Tavira, Portugal
1992 Mall Galleries, London
1992 Pike Gallery, London
1993 London Print Workshop
1993 Nevill Gallery, Canterbury
1994 Northcote Gallery, London
1995 Laing Painting Competition, London
1995 Royal Overseas League, London
1995 Schoolhouse Gallery, Norfolk
1995 Coombs Contemporary, London
1996 Halesworth Gallery, Suffolk
1997 Laing Painting Competition, London
1997/8/9 Duncan Terrace, London
1997 Konstakuten Gallery, Stockholm
1997 Yokohama Print Biennale, Japan
1997 Lime Gallery, California
1998 Lynne Cohennan Gallery, California
2000-4 Duncan Terrace Gallery, London
2004 Bury St.Edmunds Art Gallery
2004 Salthouse 04, Norfolk
2005 Norwich Castle Open Art Show
2005 Halesworth Gallery, Suffolk
2005 Duncan Terrace Gallery, London
2005 Discerning Eye, Mall Galleries, London
2006 Cosa Gallery, London
2006 London Art Fair
2006 Art London
2006 ’Off‘, Norfolk
2006 Norwich Fringe Festival, Norfolk
2006 Duncan Terrace Gallery, London
2007 Stephen Walton Fine Art, Bury St.Edmunds
2008 Salthouse 08, Norfolk
2009 Salthouse 09, Norfolk
2010 ‘Quiet Voices’, Tate Britain
2015 ‘Art Alive’, Norwich, Norfolk
2017 National Original Print Exhibition, Bankside Gallery, london
2019 Fisher Arts Gallery, Suffolk
1999 Talent Search Gallery, California
2001 Rivermead Gallery, Chelmsford
2006 The Cut Arts Centre, Halesworth, Suffolk
2007 Outpost Gallery, Norfolk
2007 Bungay Fisher Theatre, Suffolk
2007 Ferini Gallery, Suffolk
2008 Wembley Point, London
2012 Hester Gallery, Leeds
2018 Fisher Arts Gallery, Suffolk
1987-88 Camberwell School of Art
1988-91 Norwich School of Art. BA Hons. (1st Class) Fine Art
1991-93 Slade School of Art. Higher Diploma in Fine Art
2000-01 Anglia Polytechnic University. Postgraduate Certificate in Education
2016-18 NUA, Moving Image and Sound MA