Through color, I have sought to concentrate on beauty and happiness, rather than on man’s inhumanity to man.
— Alma Thomas, 1970
Alma Thomas (1891–1978) is best known for her signature colorful abstract paintings. Thomas’s patterned compositions, energetic brushwork and commitment to color created a singular and innovative body of work. This exhibition is the first comprehensive look at the artist’s work in nearly twenty years and includes rarely exhibited watercolors and early experiments.
Divided into four sections: Move to Abstraction; Earth; Space; and Late Work, this exhibition presents a wide-ranging look at Thomas’s evolving practice from the late 1950s to her death in 1978. Thomas’s artworks are inspired by a range of subject matter from the civil rights movement to the United States Space program to the daily experience of her Washington D.C. garden. Almost four decades after her death, Thomas’s work continues to influence generations of artists and resonate with myriad audiences.
Born in 1891 in Columbus, Georgia, Thomas actively participated in the art world throughout her life. Her family moved to Washington D.C. in 1907 due to growing racial tensions.