Episode 95: Tom McGlynn



Cones and rods are the photoreceptors in the retina that react to color and light. According to Reena Mukamal who explained How Humans See In Color in a 2017 article published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, rods are cells that are utilized during low light. Cones are cells that are activated in brighter settings. Reflected light triggers cones to emit signals that pulsate towards the visual cortex via optic nerves, allowing the mind to interpret the signal magnitude while quantifying the number of cones aroused. "After the nerve impulses are processed, you see a color," Mukamal says.


In trying to understand this, I imagine that when looking at a Tom McGlynn painting, some of our six million cones are immediately energized:


First Kind


Decal 110, Decal 304, Station 2


Solar Prestige


McGlynn is aware of the visual stimulation and optical calisthenics that our gazes perform while gracefully tripping from platform to platform in his vibrant paintings. He gives us the illusion of a grid without there truly being a grid: in fact, the precision of the lines falters in the deliberate vibration created in both his color choices and altered manipulation of recurring form. The notion of transparency is alluded to, yet all his tones are opaque. There is the suggestion of negative space when indeed it is usually pigmented and reactive in some way, providing the layer upon which his other forms reside on, vibrate against, nestle in or rise above. We have the feeling of spatiality in which some forms are closer while others recede. We are also left marveling at his choice in palette itself- and we are awestruck about the dialogues and interplay between these forms in relation to one another. We feel a sense of levitation, submergence, and amplitude in its undercurrent of energy . . . and we can almost hear the hum generated by the synergy of tonal range, form and design all responding to each other within the composition.


Christian Nguyen captured a beautiful portrait of Tom McGlynn in his 2021 Art Talks series. Learn more about our guest artist, Tom McGlynn, who will be joining us live from his studio this Tuesday night, June 21st, 2022, on The Large Glass.




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