Radiohead Frontman Thom Yorke and Artist Stanley Donwood’s New Paintings Conjure Eerie, Abstract Landscapes. See Them Here

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New paintings by the musician Thom Yorke, lead singer of the English rock band Radiohead, will go on view at Tin Man Art gallery in London. The works were produced with artist Stanley Donwood, a long-time collaborator since he produced cover art for the band’s EP  in 1994.

For Yorke, the experience of making the works was reminiscent of his process as a musician. “That was what I found incredibly exciting,” he said. “I became so conscious of the fact that the two processes are almost exactly the same.”

Donwood and Yorke met while they were both art students. “I figured I’d either end up really not liking this person at all, or working with him for the rest of my life,” Yorke once recalled. Since 1994, Donwood has made all of Radiohead’s album art and promotional materials. In 2021, he sold some of his prospective cover designs, which were never used, at Christie’s. 

Yorke and Donwood started making art together a few years ago. Some early efforts were featured in the digital “KID A MNESIA EXHIBITION” that accompanied the release of Radiohead’s triple album of the same name that combined the records (2000) and (2001) with previously unreleased material.

For this latest exhibition, “The Crow Flies Part One,” the duo worked side-by-side on the same canvas in a small studio. As well as making the album art for , the 2022 debut of Yorke’s new band The Smile, they produced over 20 additional paintings that are now being made public for the first time.

Longtime fans of Donwood’s artistic interpretations of Yorke’s music will find the appearance of strange, stylized landscapes to be familiar. In this case, swirling abstract forms have been layered over intricate, map-like drawings. In keeping with the idea of using ancient maps as inspiration, the works are made on vellum, or calfskin, which was traditionally used before the widespread availability of paper. Compared to previous projects, the imagery is more delicately painted using old-school techniques like egg tempera or water-based gouache.

The exhibition runs through September 10, and will be followed by a second part scheduled to run from December 6–10. See more of the new paintings below.

Thom Yorke and Stanley Donwood, Unchecked (2021–23). Photo courtesy of Tin Man Art.

Thom Yorke and Stanley Donwood, Somewhere You’ll Be There (2021–23). Photo courtesy of Tin Man Art.

Thom Yorke and Stanley Donwood, Membranes (2021–23). Photo courtesy of Tin Man Art.

Thom Yorke and Stanley Donwood, Let Us Raise Our Glasses To What We Don’t Deserve (2021–23). Photo courtesy of Tin Man Art.

 

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