She introduces a complex vision of what it means to be a woman and expands common definitions of beauty. Her work stems from her long study of art history and the classical genres of portraiture, landscape, and still life. Inspired by various sources that range from the 19th century Hudson River School to Edouard Manet, Henri Matisse and Romare Bearden, she continues to explore notions of beauty from a contemporary perspective infused with the more recent influences of popular culture and Pop Art.
Says Thomas about her work: 'Emerging from a discourse of black and female identity – my practice stems from an interest in the historical traditions of Western art. Shaped through studies of portraiture, landscape and still life painting, my explorations have sought to examine established notions of beauty, sexuality and subjectivity.'
'By fusing historical influences with pop and personal significance, I aim to blur the distinction of object and subject, concrete and abstract, real and imaginary. Indeed, the modes through which culture serves to shape perception across social, spatial and ideological platforms is fundamental to my investigations.'
'Through painting, photography, collage and installation, my strategies include appropriation and pastiche, whereby the repurposing of formal and conceptual artistic iconology is developed in order to re-evaluate its context. Here, my study of French impressionism, European modernism and pop art plays a formative influence – wherein pioneers including Bearden, Neel, Picasso, Manet and Warhol continue to activate my interest and approach.'
'The subjects that populate my images are similarly influential, however their significance is often intimate or personal. Family, friends and lovers feature throughout my oeuvre; subsisting as powerful figures that serve to characterise the subjective, and often otherworldly, propositions that I envision.'
Text courtesy Kavi Gupta.
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