Bound to the Land is an exhibition that firmly places Margot Voorhies Thompson in the region where she was raised and continues to live. This new body of work evolved out of a 2015 residency Thompson had at Playa, an artist retreat in south central Oregon, located in the dry-lake landscape for which it is named. While there, she collaborated with book artist Sandy Tilcock on a publication about being immersed in the natural world. Thompson immersed herself in the material of the land itself, using crushed rock and pigments along the road as the source of her colors. She notes that, “During the residency, I investigated the Playa every day, finding bones, claws and roots to draw, heavily salted stones, and even cracked patterns in the mud. In addition to the work on our project, I thought about the scale of the landscape, the proportions of sky and cloud, mountain and lake, not just the objects that lay upon its surfaces, but the colors and textures of the land itself. I felt I had returned to old places to find something new.” The immersion in the landscape also pulled up Margot’s memories of time with her artist-father Charles Voorhies, exploring the Oregon landscape for his own inspiration. The rich vein of the land and of her memories shaped the compelling paintings that form this show.
A Portland native, Margot Voorhies Thompson studied at Lewis and Clark College, Reed College, the Pacific Northwest College of Art, and at the Hochschule Fur Kunsterlische in Linz, Austria. Her work is in collections including the Portland Art Museum, the Stanford University Hospital, and the Printmaking Workshop in New York. Margot Thompson has completed several collaborative book commissions with Kim Stafford, Pattian Rogers, and Wendell Berry for the University of Oregon’s Knight Library Press. Other commissions include pieces for Oregon University of Health and Sciences, Portland; Portland State University; Kaiser Permanente, Tualatin, OR; the Woodstock Branch Multnomah County Library, Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, both in Portland, and Oregon State Hospital in Salem, OR.