Alma Thomas started her painting career at the age of 68, after retiring from teaching art to junior high school students in Washington, DC. At the age of 80, Thomas’s exuberantly colored abstractions were exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, where she was the first black female artist to be given a solo show. Filled with vibrant illustrations, this stunning volume traces Thomas’s development as an artist: her transition from figuration to abstraction, her fascination with the natural world and space exploration, and the mesmerizing mosaic-like paintings she completed before her death.
New writings focus on different themes in Thomas’s work, and the book includes specially commissioned responses by leading artists Leslie Hewitt, Jennie C. Jones, Leslie Wayne, and Saya Woolfalk. Together these bring Thomas’s work to a new generation of readers. As the work of many African-American abstractionists is only recently coming into the spotlight, this important book on Alma Thomas profiles a truly pioneering figure.
IAN BERRY is the Dayton Director of the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College. LAUREN HAYNES is Associate Curator, Permanent Collection at The Studio Museum in Harlem. BRIDGET R. COOKS is Associate Professor in the School of Humanities at the University of California, Irvine. THELMA GOLDEN is Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem. NIKKI A. GREENE is Assistant Professor of Art at Wellesley College. LESLIE HEWITT is an artist based in New York. JENNIE C. JONES is an artist based in Brooklyn. LESLIE WAYNE is an artist based in New York. SAYA WOOLFALK is an artist based in New York.