Tom Betts' exquisitely rendered artworks undoubtedly fit into the tradition of realist painting, but there is far more at work here than what meets the eye. Adding deep layers of meaning and metaphor to the containers, cups, saucers and lights that dominate his oil paintings, the California-based painter takes realism to sophisticated new levels, successfully employing figuration to capture more elusive concepts, such as the nature of existence, in a way more commonly achieved through abstraction.
Betts' handling of light, color, texture, and composition is as compelling as that of the most accomplished academic painters of the past. Observing his subjects from both life and photographs, he carefully captures nuances of light and shadow, line and form to create atmospheric images that lure the viewer in with their mysterious subjects: string lights, single or multiple porcelain cups and saucers. But these works, of course, are not just vehicles to display his expert handling of paint and well-trained eye. Rather, for Betts, each represents a different temporal state, present, past, and future, which in turn work to visually articulate an intangible aspect of existence and culture.
His work has been featured in the Palm Springs Art Fair, in Southwest Art Magazine, in Artists Network, in the Artists for the New Century Show at the Bennington Center for the Arts, on Park City Mountain Morning News and more. He received his BFA and MFA from the University of Utah and his art is currently featured at the Thomas Anthony Gallery in Park City, Utah and at Dawson Cole Fine Art in Laguna Beach, Carmel, and Palm Desert, California.