The natural world is the inspiration for my drawing, painting and multi-media work. I use all of its visual forms—land, plants and flowers, animals, natural phenomena, such as weather and the seasons. I assign metaphorical properties to the forms of nature, based on my personal reactions and interpretations of the way nature is viewed in the contemporary context—in terms of history, aesthetics, philosophy and politics.
My work begins with direct observation recorded in painting and photography. I create a story for myself that centers around anthropomorphized natural forms, likening and relating their experiences to human experience. Graphically manipulating colors, forms, and contexts, I give natural forms a new kind of life and new relationships, with each other, and with the manmade world.
about the artist
Barbara Thomas grew up on a farm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, surrounded by artists. She began studying at age 15 at The Art Students' League, New York, under American Naturalist painter Edwin Dickinson (1891-1978). She went on to study at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY, receiving her MFA at Lesley University, Boston, MA.
Thomas began her career as a commercial artist, art director and illustrator, and switched to painting full time in the early 1980s, inspired by her move to the East End of Long Island. She established a following as a house, garden, and property portraitist, with commissions from all over the world, but predominantly working in the Hamptons.
Her fine art has been shown at Ille Arts, Amagansett, NY; Estia Gallery, Bridgehampton, NY; Grenning Gallery, Rebecca Cooper Gallery and Canio’s Gallery, in Sag Harbor, NY; Elaine Benson Gallery, Bridgehampton, NY; Lizan Topps Gallery, East Hampton, NY; and Wally Findlay Gallery, New York, NY.
Thomas has taught and lectured extensively, including at The Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, NY. and at her studio in East Hampton, NY.