Meet the Artist
Barbara Earl Thomas
Book of Cures by Barbara Earl Thomas
(Courtesy of Claire Oliver Gallery and Barbara Earl Thomas. Photo by Spike Mafford Photography)
Image (right): Photo by Jovelle Tamayo
The image featured in the 2021 Schomburg Center Literary Festival is Book of Cures by artist Barbara Earl Thomas.
Barbara Earl Thomas, who is represented by the Harlem-based Claire Oliver Gallery, is a writer and visual artist with numerous national exhibits to her credit. Drawing on her personal history between the American South and the Pacific Northwest, Thomas incorporates themes of people and their rituals with the land, politics and social issues while foregrounding the mythologized sense of place as it operates between a geographical and spiritual realm. Thomas is a maker who builds tension-filled narratives through papercuts and prints, placing silhouetted figures in social and political landscapes. Thomas’s site-specific sculptural practice expands these forms. She creates public sculptures and large-scale installations that use light as the animating force and invites her viewers to step inside her stories and dramatic illuminated scenographies.
Thomas’s works are included in the collections of the Seattle Art Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, Portland Art Museum, Chrysler Museum of Art, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Microsoft, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as the Washington State and Seattle City public collections. She is the recipient of the City of Seattle Mayor’s Arts Award for Cultural Ambassador, the Governor’s Arts Award, the Artist Trust Irving and Yvonne Twining Humber Award, and The Stranger Genius Award for excellence in the arts. Thomas is a lecturer on arts and culture as well as serving as a social and cultural activist. She received her BA and MFA from the University of Washington School of Art. Her current major solo exhibit, Geography of Innocence, is on view at the Seattle Art Museum, and an upcoming exhibit at the Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington opens in the fall of 2021.
Meet the Artist
Figure in the Urban Landscape 28 2018 (3)
Image (right): Photo by Mark Poucher
The image featured in the both the inaugural and second (2019 and 2021) Schomburg Center Literary Festival is Figure in the Urban Landscape 28 2018 (3), was by the artist Derrick Adams.
Derrick Adams is a Baltimore-born, Brooklyn, New York-based artist whose critically admired work spans painting, collage, sculpture, performance, video, and sound installations. His multidisciplinary practice engages the ways in which individuals’ ideals, aspirations, and personae become attached to specific objects, colors, textures, symbols, and ideologies. His work probes the influence of popular culture on the formation of self-image, and the relationship between man and monument as they coexist and embody one another. Adams is also deeply immersed in questions of how African American experiences intersect with art history, American iconography, and consumerism. Most notably in his Floater series, he portrays Black Americans at leisure, positing that respite itself is a political act when embraced by black communities. The radicality of this position has materialized in Adams’ work across his Deconstruction Worker, Figure in the Urban Landscape, and Beauty World series.