Signed and dated, lower right: A. W. Thomas / '69
Alma Thomas spent her career painting in the Washington, DC, area, and was especially drawn to themes she found in the city’s parks and gardens. She based Wind Dancing with Spring Flowers on the bright spring plantings in one of the city’s circular gardens—reputed to be that of Dupont Circle. The scene is an imaginary bird’s-eye view of a garden based on concentric rings of flowers. The goal is not naturalism, however, but rather a visual response to experience.
Thomas’s canvas is dominated by clearly handmade marks, emphasizing a very human presence in the painting. In this she countered a prevalent 1960s impulse to remove the hand of the artist from the work of art—an outgrowth of Minimalism. Thomas relished the handmade mark, and her work is characterized by the near-obsessive repeated brushstrokes that comprise the shapes she creates. As in the work of her DC colleagues, color plays a dominant role in evoking her emotional responses to her subjects.
From the 2019 exhibition The Expanding Universe of Postwar Art, curated by John R. Stomberg Ph.D, Virginia Rice Kelsey 1961s Director
I say everyone on earth should take note of the spring of the year coming back every year, blooming and gorgeous. --Alma Woodsey Thomas
Thomas based this painting on an imaginary bird’s-eye view looking down on a garden comprised of concentric rings of flowers—reputedly, Dupont Circle in Washington, DC. Thomas used clearly recognizable brushstrokes, emphasizing a very human presence in the painting. She relished the impact of her gestures as she painted, and her work is characterized by the near obsessive repeated brushstrokes that comprise the shapes she creates. Color plays a dominant role in evoking or sharing her emotional responses to her subjects.
From the 2023 exhibition The Painter's Hand: U.S. Abstraction since 1950, curated by John Stomberg, Virginia Rice Kelsey 1961s Director
AAAS 67.5, GEOG 21.01, Black Consciousness and Black Feminisms, Abigail Neely, Winter 2019
AAAS 88.19, Contemporary African-American Artists, Michael Chaney, Summer 2021
Alma W. Thomas: Everything is Beautiful, Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia, July 9-October 3, 2021; The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, October 30, 2021-January 23, 2022; Frist Art Museum, Nashville, Tennesee, February 22-May 22, 2022; The Columbus Museum, Columbus, Georgia, July 1-September 25, 2022.
The Expanding Universe of Postwar Art, Northeast Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 26-December 1, 2019.
The Painter's Hand: U.S. Abstraction since 1950, William B. Jaffe and Evelyn A. Jaffe-Hall Galleries, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, June 3-December 9, 2023.
John R. Stomberg, The Hood Now: Art and Inquiry at Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire: Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, 2019, p. 181, ill. plate no. 112.
Cover, Humanities: The Magazine of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Winter 2022, 43, no. 1
Seth Feman and John Frederick Walz, Alma W. Thomas: Everything is Beautiful, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2020,ill. cat. 135, p.287.
The artist; Vincent Malzac (1914-1989), date unknown; Estate of Vincent Melzac, 1989; Connersmith, Washington, D.C., date unknown; sold to present collection, 2016.
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