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-april lacheur, artist
july 20, 2012
Artist Denyse Thomasos died in New York City, yesterday morning, shocking and saddening the Canadian community, among so many that she touched. Thomasos is reported to have passed away after an adverse reaction to a dye injected for a routine MRI. She leaves behind her husband Samein and 13-month-old daughter Syann, as well as a very close-knit family in Toronto, including her mother, sisters, and extended family.
Thomasos was a “singular and celebrated” abstract painter, a statement reads from the Tom Thomson Gallery, which often exhibited her work. She painted large-scale, expressive architectural structures which verged on abstraction, gesturally “recording and examining political and social conditions from slavery to modern day war and genocide.” Digital imagery played a role in her work as well, and much of her formal constructions are based on her visual research gathered during her travels to Asia, Mali, and Peru.
Denyse was born in Trinidad 1964, and grew up in Mississauga, outside Toronto. She lived and worked in the US since completing her MFA at Yale University’s School of Art in 1989. Thomasos is represented by Lennon, Weinberg Inc. (Chelsea, NY), the Olga Korper Gallery(Toronto) and the Brand New Gallery (Milan). Reviewed by international publications including ArtForum, Art in America, and the New York Times, Thomasos has won numerous awards and artist residencies including a Guggenheim (1997), a PEW Fellowship(1995), Bellagio residency (2001), Yaddo Residency, Joan Mitchell Award (1998), andNYFA (2008). Most recently she was named the first recipient of the McMillan/Stewart Award, recognizing unique and outstanding contributions made by female artists. She was reported as saying, of her work, “I link … my personal history with m historical past. Slavery marks the start of my history: each stroke – a lask, each mark – resilience in the fields.” Art in America’sJonathan Goodman wrote, “In these powerful, densely structured paintings, Thomasos has created an abstract body of work that is all the more compelling for its evocation of actual experience.”
In 2006, Thomasos was commissioned to complete a large-scale installation – not dissimilar tothe large mural that Thomasos installed at Mercer Union in 2004 – at the Art Gallery of Ontario during the Frank Gehry renovation. The museum acquired a major work, “Metropolis,” that was premiered at the opening of the building in 2008.
Thomasos was Associate Professor of Fine Art at Rutgers University, and most recently exhibited two significant solo shows in 2010, one at Olga Korper Gallery, and her first in 10 years at Lennon, Weinberg. As Canadian Art reported, Thomasos had returned to the canvas and (excepting “Arc,” a 20-foot-wide painting) was revisiting a slightly smaller scale of production. “Nonetheless, the themes and devices of Thomasos’s work would seem to be evolving in a consistent direction, with interests and research in imprisonment, war, genocide, and the histories of people of color being worked through in large, complex, and fluid abstractions.
Please look to ARTINFO Canada shortly for a statement from Olga Korper on this sudden and tragic loss.
via: art info canada
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