Esmé Thompson

Academic Appointments

Professor of Studio Art

In Esmé Thompson’s paintings and multipanel wall reliefs the use of color and pattern create a dynamic and engaging viewing experience.  Colorful and bold, the paintings attest to a lifelong interest in decorative designs as diverse as those found in Islamic textiles and ceramic tiles to those of medieval paintings and illuminated manuscripts.  

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Over the last decade, Thompson has undertaken an investigation into the creative intersections of her many influences, forming alchemies of design, pattern, and color.  In so doing, she has fashioned a visual vocabulary that is distinctly her own, imbuing each painting with the overlapping and intersecting language of symbols amid repeated articulations of line and color.  She creates wall reliefs of multiple panels on metal or wood.

Thompson says:  “I hope that my work represents possibility; I hope it embodies change. The repeated, interrelated images are meant to allow for a cyclical and cumulative, rather than a linear, reading.  The experience of viewing the painting becomes a journey that continues to unfold, reminiscent of the ongoing pattern of organic growth.  I seek to make paintings that blur the boundaries between high and low art and that celebrate the work people have made throughout time and across cultures.”

Thompson’s travels inform and enliven her art.  She has been a resident of the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bogliasco Foundation in Italy, and returns to Italy often to pursue her interest in medieval painting and the decorative arts.  She has travelled to Morocco to study ceramic and fiber art and to Ireland to study Celtic manuscripts and lacemaking.  Thompson lives in New Hampshire and is Professor of Studio Art at Dartmouth College.    

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HB 6081
Studio Art
B.A. Whitworth College
M.A. University of Iowa
M.F.A. Yale University

Selected Publications

Bowery Gallery, one person show, New York, New York, March 2016.

 Contemporary Abstraction, group show, Hood Museum of Art, College, Hanover, NH 03766, 2016


Exhibitions and Awards

Exhibition: "Esme Thompson: The Alchemy of Design", Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH

Exhibition: 10th Anniversary Exhibition, Grimshaw-Gudewicz Art Gallery, Fall River, MA

Exhibition: Helen Day Art Center, Stowe, Vermont

Exhibition: Bowery Gallery, NY, NY

Exhibition: Les Yeux du Monde, Charlottesville, VA

Exhibition: Brattleboro Museum, Brattleboro, VT

Exhibition: List Gallery, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA

Award: Senior Faculty Fellowship, Ritratti: An Exploration of Multiple Plate Color Printmaking at Wingate Press

Award: The John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding Research Grant, : A study of Ornament and Decoration in Zillij, Moroccan Ceramic Wall Relief

Award: Leslie Center for the Humanities, Faculty Travel and Research Grant, A study of Ornament and Decoration in Zillij, Moroccan Ceramic Wall Relief

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Selected Works