VSOP Projects is honored to present a survey of the work of the late Tommy Thomas (1920-2016). Beloved New York City/Southold artist and acclaimed editor of the prestigious U.S. Camera Annual, Thomas’ 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, et. al. 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.
Included in the exhibition are a number of Tommy’s Constructions. Delicately assembled from wood, aluminum foil, craft scraps and photocopies, and often incorporating naively rendered human characters, these rudimentary-yet-enchanting architectural “models” soulfully depict vibrant cityscapes and country facades, with all of their virtues and afflictions; the marquee of the Fabulous Fox Theatre on the night of a screening of Casablanca, Bergman & Bogey prominently featured.
The Women on the Wall, a constellation of figurative sculptures made during Tommy’s final years, will be exhibited here for the first time. Archetypal female characters like those portrayed in "Trophy Wife" and "Foreclosure" anchor this group of 16 feminist icons – rockers, strippers, fashionistas, mothers-to-be and other self-empowered women.
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 office jobs,” 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 artmaking.
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.
Tommy Thomas: Constructions and Her Final Works will be on at view at VSOP Projects from July 14th through July 30th, and will run concurrent with an exhibition of paintings by artist Lisa Levy. An opening reception will take place on Saturday, July 14th from 6-9pm, and is free and open to the public.