Termesphere Gallery Review-A Visual Wonderland in the Black Hills


I am seldom at a loss for words. But, standing in the Termesphere Gallery, celestial artwork slowly circulating above my head, I find standard vocabulary woefully inadequate and flat. What words can capture the depth and dimensionality of spherical canvasses--yes, that’s right, spherical canvasses-- that are mathematical and visual treasures? How do I describe the wonderland created by these panoramic bubbles, hanging from ceiling motors and floating in space?

The Termesphere Gallery in Spearfish, South Dakota. photo:R.Termes

Hold on. I know. It took me awhile to even absorb the reason that Richard Termes, the world’s leading spherical artist, paints on spheres instead of flat surfaces. Why? So, he can, as he says, “paint the total picture.” Each sphere is a complete environment onto itself, capturing north, south, east, west, up and down. By thinking in the round, the artist has expanded the traditional limits of painting and created an entirely new art form. He calls these panoramic creations Termespheres.

"Stairs" photo:R.Termes

Here’s what helped me understand. Termes suggests that I picture a scene so captivating (the Grand Canyon, for example) that it makes me to want to turn in circles, look up and down, see it all. The complete visual environment that, as he describes, I wish I could take home with me. Now, I should “imagine a transparent sphere on my head and paint what I see.” Looking through this clear ball, I am able to see what’s ahead and behind me, to each side of me and above and below me. Now, imagine this inside-out view of the world around me painted on the outside of a rotating sphere.

"Reflecting Through" photo:R.Termes

Each sphere appears limitless and other-worldly while simultaneously showcasing the beauty of the painting itself. Some of these paintings are representational and depict famous places such as the Vatican and the Pantheon; some highlight local scenes and some are completely abstract. No wonder Richard Termes was recently inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame and that his work has been recognized worldwide.

"St. Peter's Basilica" photo:R.Termes


"Hagia Sophia" photo:R.Termes

I won’t attempt to explain the math behind the six point perspective system that he devised for his paintings or the optical illusions created when the spheres rotate in the gallery. Let me just point out that his works have been part of national and international science and mathematical exhibits as well those honoring M.C. Escher in Rome. One of his works—The Big Bang--is on the cover of an edition of Stephen Hawking’s Brief History of Time.

Brief History of Time book cover photo:R.Termes

In addition to creating his unique art, Richard Termes conducts lectures and workshops throughout the country. He recently completed an educational series on drawing for public television that will be available to schools nationwide.

Again, it wasn’t easy finding the right words for this review. I almost didn’t attempt it. But, this gallery is so extraordinary and Richard Termes’ work so exceptional that I had to try. Even if you have been to countless galleries and have seen your share of artwork, you have not seen anything like this. If you are anywhere near the Black Hills of South Dakota, you must go there and see for yourself.

The Termesphere Gallery is nestled in the Black Hills photo:R.Termes


Take a look at this video to get a better sense of this unique artwork.                                                          


The Termesphere Gallery is located at: 1920 Christensen Drive, Spearfish, South Dakota 57783. For hours, call: 605 642-4805. For additional information,  visit the Termesphere's  website.  









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