Jena Thomas is an emerging contemporary artist who, having just completed her MFA at the University of Miami, already boasts an impressive exhibition record. Recent accolades include being selected twice (2016, 2014) as one of the 40 top MFA students in the country by New American Paintings Magazine. She was also a finalist for the William and Dorothy Yeck Award and received the Ruth Katzman Scholarship from the Art Students’ League of New York.

Thomas’s work portrays ethereal and somewhat strange landscapes that explore the ways in which man alters the natural world. Man-made structures shrouded in vibrant hues create extraterrestrial landscapes made from objects easily identifiable to the viewer. Thomas takes what is familiar and exposes it as something unnatural. This teases our perception of objects, their origins and their usefulness. As countless scientists and made-for-TV documentaries have exposed, what has been created by man can easily be destroyed by nature. Thomas recreates the threshold of those realities, depicting the moments after abandonment but before environmental takeover. This suspends the fabricated structures in time. Thomas’ use of color—including tropical blues, hot pinks, and electric greens—makes each landscape even more disorienting and dream-like.

Prominent constructs such as pools, patios, and train tracks serve as visceral boundary lines between the fabricated and the organic. Thomas’ colors invoke a dusk light sensation, depicting the world in the liminal stage between light and darkness. In others, rich tones of paint bring a dream-like vision to the work, creating a nearly supernatural glow that fabricates a “luscious otherworld [teeming] with weird individuality.”

Thomas has exhibited extensively in the United States, with recent exhibitions at Boca Raton Museum of Art, Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami, FATVillage Projects, and CONTEXT New York.