Thomas Doyle: If the creek don’t rise

February 6–May 8, 2016

Thomas Doyle’s small-scale sculpture of a house in If the creek don’t rise tells the story that takes place in a gray zone between everyday events and calamities that can, at any time, strike a home.

Doyle’s “people,” an assortment of miniature figures, carry on, oblivious to encroaching danger. Viewers, though, see it and are visually plunged into a world where an unsettlingly familiar thread of anxiety runs. In his first solo Museum exhibition, Thomas Doyle creates a swollen riverbed that crosses the Museum’s gallery. A river that is flooding, it must be dammed, and the piled up paraphernalia from Doyle’s suburban house becomes the force that holds it back. The debris actually forms two dams and in between sits a single house and a yard. “The dams,” Doyle said, “have a purpose, while nodding to the absurdity of changing the natural world.”

Then, inspired by Hudson River School artist Thomas Cole’s The Course of Empire paintings that show the growth and fall of a city in five parts, Doyle, in his sculpture Culminating Point, shows the life cycle of a suburban home from “Empty Lot” to “Under Construction” to “Perfect House” to “House Flooded,” and finally, “Empty Lot for Sale.” Doyle adds to Cole’s cycle of history the personal element of an individual home.

Doyle, who lives and works in Katonah, in New York’s Westchester County, has shown his sculptures at galleries and museums across the United States and in London, Florence, Seoul, and Beijing, among other locations.

Thomas Doyle. Infinite regress, 2015. Mixed media. Courtesy the artist. Photo credit: OreN.