The Art of Barbara Earl Thomas
Barbara Earl Thomas
Foreword by Jacob Lawrence
Introduction by Vicki Halper
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As a painter and writer of prodigious talent and remarkable visionary sensibility, Barbara Earl Thomas continues to spark increasing attention both regionally and nationally. The granddaughter of southern sharecroppers who migrated to Seattle in the middle 1940s, Thomas expresses in her art a dual heritage, translating her own vision of southern roots and culture into a Northwestern landscape.
- Published: 1998
- Subject Listing: Twentieth Century Art
- Bibliographic information: 80 pp., 28 illus.
- Series: Jacob Lawrence Series on American Artists
Storm Watch is a radiant book, offering a richly satisfying combination of luminous images and the written word. Generously illustrated, it includes a color sequence of more than twenty powerful paintings, representing two decades of Thomas's career. In her paintings, Thomas incorporates themes of people and their rituals with the land, weaving images around the metaphor of place as both a geographical and spiritual location. Her writing, too, pulses with life. Her essay, "Passing Secrets," not only offers a perceptive sketch of the attitudes of black immigrants to the Northwest but also provides a personal insight into her technical and philosophical approach. Because her use of imagery is highly symbolic, Storm Watch has an appeal that crosses the boundaries of artistic media-of painting and writing-and transcends regional locale.
Vicki Halper's masterful introduction chronicles Barbara Thomas's life and education and traces the impact of those experiences in the development of her art. Halper quotes extensively from Thomas's discussions about herself and her work, and draws useful comparisons between her art and that of selected painters, in particular, Americans Jacob Lawrence and Guy Anderson, and British artist William Blake. Most of all, she sheds light on the magic realism that infuses the stories Thomas tells with her paintings.
Introduction: Storm Watch
Chronology: Barbara Earl Thomas