The Tribal Currency Collection by Thomas Schoos

The paintings in this gallery are all based on a series of distinctive objects from tribal Africa, collected over time by Thomas Schoos.   Click on Thumbnail #1 to see artifacts from this collection.  Each of these African artifacts was once used as piece of currency in African societies, even though they differ from western or European currencies a great deal.  Instead of coins or bills, these currencies include objects that resemble swords, large earrings or shields, but were intended exclusively for trade.

The paintings use these shapes as a jumping off point for more abstract interpretations and may include other figural elements or pure impressionism.  In each case, though, the shapes evoke an emotional reaction in an organic way, creating a variety of graphical and textural treatments.  Texture is always an important facet of Schoos' work, bringing to the 2-D format a sculptural quality and sense of depth and richness.  The distressed, layered feeling in these pieces also reflects the aged textures of the objects, which are generally weathered, rusted antiques.  The richness of texture also speaks to the ancient traditions of the people who created them and their connection to nature and natural objects.