Rendered in aqueous washes of gouache, Robert Thompson's "Reflections" depicts simplified, cream-toned figures in front of a mirrored reflection, resting atop and within a landscape of ghostly faces appearing to rise from planes of pink, violet and green. As Thompson was not only influenced by mythology but also by works of the old masters that he studied while in Europe, this emotive scene can be interpreted as the story of Narcissus paralyzed by his own reflection. This work on paper exemplifies Thompson's use of symbolism, mask-like faces, flat forms and expressive color that lend themselves to complex readings and allegorical associations. This haunting piece is also sadly suggestive of Thompson's own tragic and untimely death at age 29.
The Walter O. Evans Collection of African American Art
One of the most important collections of African American visual art dating from the 18th century to the present, the collection includes 62 works from Edward Bannister, Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Robert S. Duncanson, Richard Hunt, Jacob Lawrence and others. This collection forms the foundation of a multidisciplinary center for the study, understanding and appreciation of African American art and culture. Items from the collection have previously rotated in the Evans Center Gallery and through unique exhibitions such as the 2012 "Life's Link: A Fred Wilson Installation," and the 2017 travelling exhibition of Jacob Lawrence's work.