1920 - 2016
Mary “Tommy” Thomas was born and raised in Saugus, Massachusetts. After her parents divorced, she followed her mother to New York City where, “after a stint in secretarial school and a few unappealing jobs in factories and offices,” she landed at U.S. Camera Annual, where she became editor and made a lasting mark before moving on to a full-time pursuit of art making. Tommy’s sculptures and works on paper explore the architectural landscape of the places she loved best: New York City, Long Island’s North Fork, Key West...Through her prolific artistic production and her work as one of the most important photo editors of her time, Tommy made evident the shifting social attitudes, political tenor, and visual landscapes that she was surrounded by and so acutely concerned with.
Tommy began her Constructions in the early 1980’s, prior to which she had painted, “but not seriously,” she claimed. Her first exhibition at New York’s Touchstone Gallery on 57th Street was a critical and commercial success, New York Times’ art critic John Russell declaring it “an outright winner.” Other exhibitions included the Atlantic Gallery, NYC, Arthur Williams Gallery, NYC, Elaine Benson Gallery, Watermill, NY, Gingerbread Square Gallery, Key West, FL, Northridge Gallery, Ridgefield, CT, and the Bay Street Theatre Gallery in Sag Harbor.