Guest Lecture: Kimberly Thomas

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Guest Lecture: Kimberly Thomas

February 17 @ 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm


Saturday, February 17th, join us at the Chrysler Museum Glass Studio at noon for a glassblowing demonstration, then at 2:30 PM at the Barry Art Museum for a public guest lecture.

Bio: Kimberly Thomas is a biracial interdisciplinary sculptor and flameworker currently residing in Denver, Colorado. She is known for her work’s intentionally flawed and unusual motifs as well as her intricate sculptural inventions. A self-taught glass artist, Thomas earned a BFA in Ceramics from the Rhode Island School of Design and spent six years as a special effects make-up artist before she began flameworking in 2009.

Thomas’s work is often autobiographical and conveys her unique perception of the world. Drawing her influence from concepts, questions, and theories about human nature, she combines realism and fantasy. She imparts her truth into dark, yet entertaining, narratives. Recurring themes in her work include the undesirable facets of life and human nature, freedom from the corruption imposed by society, and expansion of self-knowledge. Thomas challenges viewers to face what makes them uncomfortable in order to invite opportunities for fresh perspectives and personal development.

Using intuition as a guide, Thomas’s creative process is a balancing act between experimentation and intention. She uses borosilicate glass as a core medium as well as steel, wood, and other mixed media to create her kinetic, sculptural inventions. Her attention to detail and regard for realism contribute to the intensity and sophistication of each piece.

Thomas is a prolific artist who is dedicated to her professional and creative growth. In addition to working in her studio in Denver, Thomas exhibits her work in museums and galleries across the United States. She is a former professor of glass at Salem Community College in New Jersey and a guest instructor at various craft schools and studios, including Penland School of Craft and Pilchuck School of Glass. She was selected for Pilchuck’s 2021 Emerging Artists in Residence Program. Thomas plans to continue to evolve and expand her body of work and her artistic vision.

Artist Statement: My narrative works are sculptural illustrations of a re-imagined world, fabrications of obscure inventions, alternate realities, and speculative futures. The stories describe a pilgrimage through time, space and dimensions. My works are a ground to explore the truth, be it flawed, darkly humorous or peculiar, yet they speak to the stark realities of human existence. They are a mechanism through which I challenge ingrained perspectives, question the status quo, dismantle false perceptions, and confront harsh circumstances.

As a bi-racial artist I delve into challenging concepts as a means of negotiating my own experience within the world. These miniature, anecdotal objects are metaphorical landscapes cluttered with heaping piles of devastated remnants from the modern world or rickety, makeshift flying contraptions suspended by clouds. They represent human nature and the undesirable facets of life such as our ties to materialism and corruption imposed by society. They are a means through which I reveal the consequences of existing in a world deeply interwoven with structural oppressors – a world where self-knowledge is the source of redemption, autonomy, and preservation. These ruins of material realms are portrayals of the lessons learned through my earthly experience.

Creating these worlds lifts the diaphanous veil between the temporal reality and my higher self. Visual and metaphorical opacity becomes the vehicle through which I convey awakened perspectives. I integrate the opposing themes of the corporeal and ethereal worlds through my complex sculptural vignettes, creating narratives of cognizance, innovation, and acceptance. I veer away from transparency and invent materializations of my own enlightenment: I self-reflect and in turn compel viewers to do the same. These works are a view into a world that I call my own.

A Grassy Knoll, flameworked borosilicate glass, steel, wood, grout, mixed media, 2022


February 17
2:30 pm - 4:00 pm
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Barry Art Museum
1075 West 43rd Street
Norfolk, VA 23508 United States