In the eighth grade my parents gave me a set of oil paints. A first attempt at this mysterious medium was rewarded an honorable mention at our community art fair. It was even exhibited with the big people’s paintings. That’s a dangerous compliment to offer a child, because ever since that ribbon, I have not put down my brushes.
Any purpose beyond color and composition that I choose to layer within a painting is not necessarily what an audience may read or feel. Each viewer holds his or her own personal relationship to an image. When recognition occurs, mutual gratitude results.
As the Romantic poet, John Clare wrote, “Language has not the power to speak what love indites, the soul lies buried in the ink that writes.” So too it is with paint.
2023 deYoung Museum - San Francisco - The deYoung Open
2022 Crocker Art Museum - Sacramento, CA
2020 deYoung Museum - San Francisco - The deYoung Open
2016 Caldwell Snyder - San Francisco, CA
2015 Blue 7 Gallery, Santa Monica, CA - Food for Thought
2013 Skidmore Contemporary Art – Santa Monica
2013 Campton Gallery – New York, NY
2013 Sue Greenwood Fine Art – Laguna Beach, CA
2011 Sue Greenwood Fine Art – Laguna Beach, CA
2010 Campton Gallery – New York, NY
2005 San Francisco International Art Expo – San Francisco, CA
2004 San Francisco International Art Expo – San Francisco, CA
2003 Caldwell Snyder Gallery 20th Anniversary Show – San Francisco, CA
1998 Powell Street Gallery - San Francisco, CA
1993 Three for the Third - Peel Gallery, Danby, VT
1991 Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts Annual (CAFA)
1991 Copley Society Portrait Show - Boston, MA
1991 Carriage House Gallery Portrait Show - Guilford, CT
1990 CAFA Annual
1989 The Connecticut Vision - Mattatuck Museum, Waterbury, CT
1989 CAFA Annual
1988 Glastonbury Art Exhibit - 2nd Prize - Glastonbury, CT
1988 CAFA Annual
1987 CAFA Annual
1986 Mystic Maritime Gallery Invitational - Mystic, CT
1986 85th Annual New Haven Paint & Clay Exhibit - New Haven, CT
1985 Greene Art Gallery - Guilford, CT
1985 CAFA Annual
1984 Americana Show - Greenwich Workshop Gallery - Greenwich, CT
1984 83rd Annual New Haven Paint & Clay Exhibit - New Haven, CT
1982 National Juried Exhibition - Terrance Gallery - Palenville, NY
1982 Green Art Gallery - Guilford, CT
1982 Hartford Show - Artworks Gallery, Hartford, CT
1979 Connecticut Painters & Sculptors Annual - Stamford, CT
2018 Hartford Public Library - Hartford, CT
2013 Campton Gallery – New York, NY
2011 Evan Lurie Gallery – Carmel, IN
2010 Caldwell Snyder Gallery – San Francisco, CA
2008 Campton Gallery – New York, NY
2007 Campton Gallery – New York, NY
2006 Caldwell Snyder Gallery – San Francisco, CA
2005 Trajan Gallery – Carmel, CA
2005 Caldwell Snyder Gallery – New York, NY
2004 Trajan Gallery – Recent Works and Lecture – Carmel, CA
2003 Caldwell Snyder Gallery – San Francisco, CA
2002 Caldwell Snyder Gallery – New York, NY
1995 Romantic Realist - Colleen Yoho Gallery, San Francisco, CA
1994 Angels in San Francisco - Spectrum Gallery, San Francisco, CA
1991 Peel Gallery - Danby, VT
1989 Boston Remembered - Haley & Steele, Boston, MA
1986 Hartford Arts Council Award Exhibit, Jubilee 350 - Hartford, CT
1985 Visions of Yesteryear - Fairfield University, CT
1983 Central Arizona Chapter of the AIA – Phoenix, AZ
1983 The Meeting House - Hartford, CT
1980 Different Drummer Gallery - Hartford, CT
1980 Widener Gallery, Trinity College - Hartford, CT
1979 Different Drummer Gallery - Hartford, CT
2012 - January - AMERICAN ART COLLECTOR – #75
2011 - Nov/Dec. - VERANDA MAGAZINE - article title: Fresh Vision
2011 - September 7 - THE DAILY NEW CANAAN - Town Hall installation
2010 - Spring Issue - ARTWORKS magazine - TR COLLETTA interview/article
2008 - September - AMERICAN ART COLLECTOR – #35
2008 - September - ARTNEWS – Exhibition announcement
2007 - April - ARTNEWS – Exhibition announcement
2005 - February - IN NEW YORK: Here & Now – TR Colletta at Caldwell Snyder
2005 - June – CALIFORNIA HOME AND DESIGN: The Beauty of Taking Work Home
2003 - June – ARTNEWS: City Focus – San Francisco
2003 - July/Aug – FAMILY CHRONICLE magazine: Ellis Island
2002 - March – ARTNEWS: Exhibition announcement
1998 - Winter – AMBASSADOR MAGAZINE-The Artistry of American Icons – TR Colletta
1995 - December – USA TODAY
1994 - September –FRONTIERS Magazine - San Francisco: Angels in San Francisco
1991 - May – The Stamford Advocate
1991 - December – The Hartford Courant: "TR Colletta - Structural Artistry"
1991 - February – The Glastonbury Citizen
1987 - March – Gannett Westchester News
1985 - August – The Catholic Transcript
1985 - September – New Britain Herald – South Church Commission
1985 - September – Fairfield Citizen News
1985 - September – The Advocate – Fairfield County: Visions of Yesteryear
1985 - September – New Haven Register: TR Colletta at Fairfield University
1984 - April – Fairfield Citizen News: Americana Show – Greenwich Workshop
1982 - November – The Hartford Courant
1980 - October – The Hartford Courant
1979 - November – The Hartford Courant
Thomas R Colletta was born in Buffalo, New York and grew up in the nearby Town of Tonawanda. American/German mother, whose ancestors entered the United States in the early 1800’s. Italian/American father, who entered through Ellis Island at age six in 1921.
Thomas received his first set of oil paints in 1966. His first canvas received an award in a community art exhibition, prompting a life-long journey at the easel. In High School he studied piano and composition, while playing French Horn in the school band and orchestra. In 1971, Thomas accepted his first organist position at First Presbyterian in the City of Tonawanda, NY.
At the State University of New York College at Buffalo, though entering as a history major, Thomas graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Graphic Design. These years were also filled with lessons in Classical Pipe Organ and Bagpipes, while his paintings explored a variety of subjects.
Upon graduation in 1974, Thomas became Technical Director for the Charles Burchfield Center in Buffalo, NY, where he designed exhibits, brochures, and promotional material. In 1975 he became a professional photographer for the Longin Studio in Niagara Falls, NY. During these years his passion for painting prompted several solo trips to Europe, where he could experience and absorb the many great masterpieces of Western Art and Architecture.
After moving to Hartford, Connecticut in 1978, Thomas devoted himself to painting full time. He began gallery representation, while accepting illustration commissions from publishing firms in Boston and New York. Thus far, his time at the easel was entirely self-taught. Almost exclusively his canvases depicted historic, urban landscapes - aptly titled by one critic: “pictorial time machines.” His first exhibition in 1979 was recently bestowed, in total, to the Hartford Public Library. Thomas also continued to expand his music world. He accepted the position of Organist and Music Director for Saint Mary’s R.C. Church in New Britain, CT and sang with the professional chorus, CONCORA.
Color became a much stronger focus in his work after a seminar with New Hampshire artist, Peter Granucci in 1986. The next year Thomas tutored with renown portrait painter, Richard Whitney, a former pupil of R.H. Ives Gammell, exponent of the Boston School of Visual Impressionism. TR's subject matter then expanded beyond urban scenes to portraiture and figurative work as well.
After leaving Connecticut and spending a year in New York City, Thomas moved to San Francisco in 1992. His work was now exhibited in galleries and art fairs on both coasts. He auditioned for the San Francisco Symphony Chorus with whom he is honored to share a Grammy for their 1994 recording of the Brahms’ Requiem.
In 1996 he began a series of paintings, which focused on objects that accented American culture throughout the 20th century. Exploring the possibilities of expressing these objects in paint continues to entertain his easel today. Some of these objects have offered him the opportunity to also include subtle commentary, usually veiled in the title. Recently, his repertoire has grown to include "stamp" paintings. They have presented TR with the opportunity to unite a representational image with the extemporaneous, abstract application of paint.
Thomas, gratefully, lives and works in beautiful San Francisco, California.