Each of Thomas Dillon's paintings begins with a meditation; 30 minutes of calm and clarity before a storm of pent up creative energy is released onto canvas.

He dives into each work free of conscious thought, deeply embracing a fluid medium as he conjures forms. Vibrating figures, floating faces and shimmering torsos emerge from the controlled chaos of their backgrounds and beckon us into their realms. These effigies were born out of an exuberance and intuitive desire that would have made Dubuffet smile.

To create his iconic characters, Thomas Dillon works horizontally and layers loose acrylic paint across his canvases by pouring (and throwing) pools of color across the surfaces, which quickly intermix with their neighboring hues. He attempts to direct and orchestrate the wet paint with sticks and other nontraditional painting tools, or by skillfully tilting and shifting the canvases as they are drying, but paint will be paint and much of the ending result is out of the artist’s hands.

It is action painting to the core, and the results feel both psychedelic and self-reflective. We see some of ourselves in these curious beings as they shift into forms we may recognize but cannot name. Otherworldly and explosive, they stare out inquiringly calling, "Come with me!”

The exhibition title, Manic Womb Phantasies, was borrowed from a book Dillon came across (Hidden Order of Art by Anton Ehrenzweig, May 1971), but in context with his artworks the words shift into a subconscious allusion to his own vision of himself as an artist and his deep compulsion to create. Painting takes Thomas back to the openness and innocence of very early childhood, and the physical and mental release of creating his images out of nothing gives Dillon a sense of stillness and passivity.

Thomas Dillon (b. 1986, Staten Island, NY) is a self-taught Contemporary artist based in Philadelphia, PA who came to painting just four years ago following earlier creative pursuits in music and writing. Dillon has worked large-scale since his first painting, and this exhibition will be his first solo presentation with the gallery. The artist first connected with Shrine by submitting to Group Show, an online project during the pandemic that invited artists to download images of our gallery space completely empty and with blank walls in order to digitally insert their artworks into the space as part of a sprawling digital group show.