“Cinderblocks, Tire Ruts” by Dean Thomas

The artist Dean Thomas was born and raised in Louisville’s Shively neighborhood, but soon after attending the now-defunct Louisville School of Art, he left for New York and spent the next 40 years experiencing, traveling and painting the world.

His journey took him to Philadelphia, San Fransisco and Los Angeles as well, but now Thomas has returned home and is debuting a collection of paintings he created from witnessing junk yards, abandoned factories and other decrepit eyesores.

“Industrial Wastelands” opens at the Tim Faulkner Gallery on Friday, Jan. 4.

“Early Night, Rainy Street” by Dean Thomas

Margaret Archambault, the gallery’s co-owner, tells Insider they are showing off more than 20 of Thomas’ oil paintings, and they first met the artist soon after the gallery relocated from Portland to its current location in Smoketown/Shelby Park.

She finds Thomas’ subject matter of abandoned places just as captivating as the artist himself.

“The history of places past is both intriguing and worth consideration,” she says.

In a news release she wrote up about “Industrial Wastelands,” Archambault said that the mere title of the exhibit “immediately evokes both thoughts and images of danger, filth, decay and disregard — a place that once produced but has become a home for the used and discarded leftovers of human need.”

“Junkscape Utah” by Dean Thomas

Some see the sites as a dump, while others, like Thomas, find beauty in the abandoned. In his artist’s statement, Thomas tries to explain his fascination:

“My heart goes out to these rusting and weathering parts. By painting them, I am in a sense reusing them, thereby honoring their lives and maybe even all the people who manufactured and worked with them.”  

Dean Thomas

“Industrial Wastelands” opens Friday, Jan. 4, with a free reception from 6 to 11 p.m. The exhibit continues through Jan. 31. The Tim Faulkner Gallery is located at 991 Logan St.

Sara Havens
Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville, known around town as the Bar Belle (barbelleblog.com). She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."