Thomas J Price (b. London, UK, 1981) studied at Chelsea College of Art (2001–04) and received an MA at the Royal College of Art, Sculpture School (2004–06). Price lives and works in London.
Price’s work across media, encompassing sculpture, film and photography, is engaged with issues of representation and perception, in society and in art. His works all share a fascination with the minutiae of body language, facial expression and external presentation, and in turn, their ability to suggest a state of mind.
Since 2005, Price has been making figurative sculptures. These sculptures function as psychological portraits of his imagined subjects – usually male, usually black – whose features are in fact an amalgamation of sources: observed individuals, 'types' represented in the media, and ancient, classical and neo-classical sculptures. Across these works, Price plays with methods of presentation, material, scale, and detail in order to challenge viewers' expectations and assumptions. Early sculptures were given geographic identities based on areas where Price has lived and worked (Hackney, Brixton, Dalston, Deptford) – street names with historic gravitas or mythic qualities (such as 'Achilles Street') that make the ordinary sound heroic and the fabled appear normal. In other works, traditional cast Bronze figures are placed on colourful Perspex bases and reclaimed plinths, or sculptures are cast in strikingly modern aluminium, and placed on grand marble columns. We are led to wonder whether the individual’s ‘true’ identity really exists, amidst or beneath the layers of constructed presentation and conditioned perception.
Price's work has an interesting and ambiguous relationship with the traditions of western sculpture, which he engages with and manipulates in order to perform a volte-face from the position taken by many white modernists pursuing the lure of tribal sculpture. Yet, in their emotional depth and arresting monumentality these anonymous portraits assert the value of the depicted subject, powerfully subverting traditional social and aesthetic hierarchies.
In 2009, Thomas J Price was featured alongside Grayson Perry, Michael Landy, Sir Anthony Caro and Cornelia Parker on the BBC 4 television documentary, Where is Modern Art Now?, presented by Gus Casely-Hayford. In 2010, he featured on BBC 4's How to Get A Head in Sculpture, also featuring Marc Quinn and Sir Anthony Caro. In 2010, Price was included in 10 Magazine's, Ten Sculptors You Should Meet, and was an invited artist at the Royal Academy Summer Show. In 2013, during his second solo show with Hales Gallery, Price presented his first large scale sculpture Network. The work subsequently was placed on display at the prestigious Yorkshire Scuplture Park, coinciding with Price's solo display at the Park (2014), and was selected for the 2015 inauguration of London's art walk The Line.
Selected solo exhibitions have been held at prestigious institutions including the National Portrait Gallery (London), Royal Academy of Arts (London), Mac Birmingham (UK), Royal College of Art (London), Yorkshire Sculpture Park (UK), Harewood House (UK) and Hales Gallery (London). Price’s work has also been included in shows in the US and Europe. Price's work is included in a number of private and public collections including Derwent London (UK), Murderme (UK) and the Rennie Collection (Canada).