College of Architecture, Art and Construction

Faculty emeritus Tom Dimond exhibits five decades of art in the Brooks Center


Artwork by Tom Dimond

“A Patient Search: Paintings by Tom Dimond” is the newest exhibit in the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts lobby exhibition space, on view through Aug. 2.

Dimond’s work is highly detailed with hidden meanings, textural interest and layers of abstraction. Through the manipulation of materials, his work conveys familiarity and nostalgia as well as a state of ambiguity that allows room for viewer interpretation. This collection features large-scale, abstract acrylic paintings, as well as smaller mixed-media collages. His thoughtful titles illuminate the inspiration behind each work.

Dimond’s career has spanned five decades and he has exhibited work all over the country in both the private and public sector.

The exhibition will feature paintings from the late 1980s to the present day and demonstrate the artist’s development in style from flat, hard-edged shapes to more atmospheric spaces and textured surfaces.

Dimond, who became a professor emeritus at Clemson more than decade ago, explained the development of his style in this way:

1970s and 1980s

These decades were typified by compositions based on the manipulation of circular forms on a grid, initially black and white and eventually employing primary and secondary colors. As the paintings moved from paper to canvas, the forms took on the contours of the exterior edges, resulting in shaped and hard-edged paintings. These colorful abstract works were composed of a grid of nine interlocking circles unified by connecting lines and were accompanied by a series of silkscreen prints.

The grid later expanded to include 77 circles employing radial symmetry as a compositional device. More complex variations followed in watercolor and silkscreen, which were related to the Pattern and Decoration movement.

1980s and 1990s

After artist retreats at the Hambidge Center in Georgia and the Vermont Studio Center, Dimond’s exploration of circles on a grid progressed. He revisited the theme of nine circles on a grid, alternating between watercolor and acrylic paintings. Making references to the natural environment and social interactions, the paintings moved from flat, hard-edged shapes to more atmospheric spaces and textured surfaces. Loose, incidental lines beneath the surface interacted with the geometric shapes, produced more complex shapes.

Early 2000s

Dimond returned to the large canvas format with a series of paintings that incorporated the older nine-circle theme and a new form. On a trip to Venice, Italy, he became fascinated by a marble tile pattern designed by the 15th century Florentine painter Paolo Uccello on the floor of San Marco Basilica in Venice – the stellated dodecahedron. Combining this form with the nine-circle mandala-type composition provided further study into the theme of ambiguity of spatial tensions. His titles reference the music he listened to while painting from a group in Sweden called Hedningarna.


Artwork by Tom Dimond

Dimond’s most recent series moved away from imagery and techniques of the tile works. It combines gestural watercolor painting with monoprints made on Japanese paper collaged to the surface. The first of these works mimicked earthen walls and were named after the sites of prehistoric cave paintings. Later iterations returned to complex layered surfaces with scans, distressed surfaces and collaged comic book imagery. He said these works are at once autobiographical in chronicling his visual influences, but also an amalgam of 50 years of techniques and studio practices.

Dimond served as the Lee Gallery director from 1973 to 1988 and as a professor for the department of art from 1979 to 2006. In 2006, he was named professor emeritus. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, and holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee.

The exhibition will be on view to the public in the lobby of the Brooks Center for Performing Arts at Clemson University from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday through Aug. 2. An artist talk and reception will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Friday, March 1.

For more information on Brooks Center exhibitions, contact Susan Sorohan at

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