My “Global Warming Cycle” Series

My “Global Warming Cycle” series of paintings began in 2005 when I was a grad student at CSULB and preparing for my Master’s Exhibition at their student art galleries. The subject matter became more important to me, and I wanted to direct my art work towards what is now recognized as the greatest threat to man and nature, and to raise public consciousness about it. My goal then was to raise public consciousness about climate change through these paintings, as well as make paintings that have conceptual significance as well as developing a new abstract style for me.

NASA average atmospheric temperature changes in the north polar region, based on 20 years of atmospheric measurement data, 1996

My approach came from my own profession as an aerospace systems engineer, particularly directed towards early warning satellite design/development for passive-infrared, space-based sensor systems. I was well acquainted with infrared atmospheric physics and IR technologies used to detect and discriminate ICBM missile plumes emitting carbon-dioxide plumes from the natural infrared structure of the earth when viewing it from space. NASA research into climate change included earth weather history and prediction modeling, summarized in earth maps as the above. Thus, my painting approach derives from abstract mapping of the earth. As my basic design format, I selected the “circle in a square”, and developed my own imagined global weather scenarios. An early example of one of my paintings is shown below. Four of my paintings of this series were accepted in a show at the Peter Blake Art Gallery in Costa Mesa (now defunct) in 2009, and the show reviewed in the Orange County Weekly newspaper (now also defunct).

“GWC #1″ 24″ x 24”, Acrylic on panel, Thom Wright, 2006

Of course back in 2006, abstract mapping may have been more appropriate for a public that had little interest or recognition of global warming. As the science improved and as earth weather became hotter and more violent, the public and many world governments began to experience the connection of increasing greenhouse gases with climate changes. Later as public awareness grew, my paintings changed purpose and direction. Below presents one of my abstract paintings from 2009. The combination of large, graphic text “GCC” and the sequential images of the earth changing with time present the future choices for man in acting early versus too late with different outcomes. This painting was accepted into the “Made in California” juried Exhibition at the City of Brea Art Gallery in 2009.

“Global Climate Change #2″, Acrylic on canvas, 48″ x 60”, Thom Wright, 2009

In 2017 I returned to abstract figurative painting, which was my initial direction when I was accepted to the graduate art program at CLULB in 2004. The painting below shows one painting that was accepted in the Special Exhibition “Nature Prevails”, showing art works by members of the non-profit artist group, Southern California Artists, Inc., and held at the BC Art Gallery in Laguna Beach, CA. This painting shows female goddess representing mankind and dumping oil-spill pollution into the earth’s oceans, symbolizing our continuing and increasing, toxic, and greenhouse emissions production and its subsequent virulent effects on the oceans, atmosphere and on all life on earth.

“Man Versus Nature”, 48″ x 40″, Acrylic on canvas, Thom Wright, 2010

During the last decade, I made several more additions and changes to my approach addressing climate change. I will be presenting these as I add them to my art website in the coming months.

The latest painting in this “Global Warming Cycle” series was made this month during the stay-in period of the corona-virus. I combined themes from these two global threats to man into one small painting. We now live in the age of multiple, simultaneous global threats, one caused by human activity with the rise of the Industrial Revolution and the growth of human population, and one caused by a mutated microcosm virus. Titled “Polar Contact Tracing”, it uses my abstract mapping design (circle in a square with mixed media). It probably will be used again by me and other artists facing future multiple global threats.

“Polar Contact Tracing” 16″ x 16″, Mixed Media on panel, Thom Wright, 2020

In this summary of this painting series, I have neglected to cover my aesthetics and painting processes. For now, this overview hopefully generates interest for the viewers, both for this series and three others to be presented.

Published by Thom Wright Art

Thom Wright has combined his passions for art, music and engineering, and all of his practices have benefited each other. In 1986, he had an epiphany, one of those moments when he realized that he had to be a better artist. His subject matter moved toward contemporary issues, including geopolitics, global environment, technology, cultural and natural processes of change, and jazz. His abstracts also migrated towards mixed media and printmaking. These interests and processes continue in his art work. Desiring to improve his skills, theory and knowledge in art, he took early retirement from the Boeing Corp. in 1999 and entered art school full time. In May, 2006, he completed the MFA program in Drawing and Painting at California State University, Long Beach.

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