Collection: Autumn T. Thomas

Artist biography

Autumn T. Thomas (b. 1978) is an interdisciplinary artist currently working in wood sculpture. Her work challenges the boundaries of visual literacy by transforming wood into soft, twisting forms, mimicking the endurance required to thrive amidst the oppression and marginalization of women of color. Minimal in design, Thomas' work personifies analogous, brown bodies as whispering forms of subversion, affecting prejudice by way of perception and visual literacy.

Thomas received her MFA in Book Arts and Printmaking from The University of the Arts, Philadelphia in 2017 and her BFA in Visual Communication from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2015. She lives and works in Denver, CO.

 

Artist Statement

My practice reflects my approach to life: cultivating meaning with a combination of structure and fluidity, gleaning from each process the leftover bits that get misunderstood and tossed aside. My practice consists of bending solid structures into curved forms, reflecting the myriad ways in which I navigate life as a member of multiple marginalized groups. I sit with a straight piece of wood, sometimes for several hours at a time, measuring and placing strategic cuts, each cut representative of having been cut-down - or negatively affected - by bias, racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism and the subverting the trope of the 'angry Black woman'. Each of these calculated, repetitive cuts allows the wood to bend and thus represents the many forms in which the constant bias I face does not break me, but instead teaches me to maneuver life with more fluidity and grace.

The overarching themes of my work are challenging visual literacy and the shifting of structure. Structure can be literal, like something made of wood that is sound and stable, like a house. But structure can also be figurative and theoretical, like the intersectionality of racism and sexism. It is within those structures that the majority of our ideals - and the focus of my work - are embedded.

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