Frik-Shuhn: Syncopation

Thomas Spoerndle

January 12 - February 23, 2022

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Flynn Fine Art is delighted to present Frik-Shuhn: Syncopation by New York City-based painter Thomas Spoerndle. Our first Artsy-exclusive exhibition of 2022 features eleven new paintings from the artist’s Frik-Shuhn series, which explores the nature of visual perception through geometric abstraction.

For over a decade Spoerndle has been exploring the malleable pictorial space of abstract painting, gradually developing a visual language reduced to geometric shapes and the primary colors. In Spoerndle’s lexicon, these foundational shapes and colors are a metaphor for the essential elements of perception, i.e., simplified components of a complex system of interactions that comprise our visual landscape. Utilizing these building blocks the artist constructs generative systems founded on pattern and repetition to create a visual rhythm that lends itself to fluctuating figure/ground relationships. The active pictorial space that results has led him to using the phonetic spelling of “friction” (frik-shuhn) as a descriptor, alluding to the dynamism created by this interaction of shape and color. Spoerndle further distills these ideas in his new body of work, Syncopation, borrowing from music theory to describe the off-beat rhythm of these iterative paintings. “Imbuing my compositions with a visceral sense of movement has always been important.” Utilizing the same base grid across five large rectangular canvases, the artist introduces overlapping, diagonal matrices with a similar effect to dropping a pebble in a pond. In his tondo Fragments, Spoerndle zeros in on these moments of reciprocity.

Like Josef Albers, Piet Mondrian and Hans Hofmann, Spoerndle leans on metaphors of foundational systems to attain balance and investigate the mechanisms of sight. This coincides with his interest in the discrepancies between preconceived ideals and perceived realities. “What attracts me to reductive abstraction is the possibility to create a dynamic visual experience that inhabits the liminal space in which the language we use to define our perception of the world is formed. This space both defines the terms for and becomes the site of our experience.” As a whole, the work functions as an interface, positioning the viewer as a maker who simultaneously deconstructs and reconstructs their perceived reality. This process engages a subject fundamental to Spoerndle’s work—the act of looking.


Thomas Spoerndle (American, b. 1984) is a New York City based artist who uses geometric abstraction to explore the multifaceted nature of perception through paintings, works on paper and installations. Drawing from the rich history of geometric abstraction as well as his interest in music theory, science fiction writing and structural engineering, Thomas creates dynamic works utilizing visual rhythms and fluctuating figure ground relationships. He received his BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 2007 and an MFA from Hunter College in 2010. Thomas has exhibited in numerous group and solo exhibitions; most recently at Troppus Projects (Kent, OH), the Reinberger Gallery (Cleveland, OH), the Everson Museum of Art (Syracuse, NY), Air in Space (Online) and Collarworks Flat File Program (Troy ,NY). His work has also been featured in publications such as Patron (Dallas), New American Paintings, Maake Mag, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Artmaze Magazine.

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