AN ARTIST’S EXPLORATION OF TRANSITION
JENA THOMAS’S LIMINAL LANDSCAPES OPENS IN STAMFORD
STAMFORD, CT — The Fernando Luis Alvarez Gallery proudly announces its next show by gallery artist Jena Thomas, Liminal Landscapes, opening on Saturday, September 9th from 6 to 9 pm.
This is the artist’s third solo exhibition at the Gallery. Her two previous exhibitions, Artificial Oasis (2016) and An Introduction (2014), were both focused on showcasing the body of work she developed during the pursuit of her MFA at the University of Miami. It was during these years, as well, that Thomas was selected as one of New American Painting Magazine’s Top 40 MFA Candidates in North America.
Now, out of school and pursuing her career to the fullest, Thomas has given us a collection of works that speak earnestly and acutely to this space of transition that she finds herself professionally, personally, and creatively. No longer dictated by the rigors of an MFA program, nor with the consistent guidance that such a pursuit provides, the artist is entering the phase of mid-career. Liminal Landscapes is an expression of both her subject — natural spaces that are being developed into suburban oases — as well as that of her current mental state during these post-grad years. The artist embraces the transition, marking her latest collection with new techniques, perspectives, and forms that she may not have attempted as a student. As a collection, there is more variance to her subject than in previous exhibitions. It is as if the artist’s creative exhale is a visceral, living thing. In Liminal Landscapes, Thomas engages in a contemporary dialogue with concerns about land development. The artist assembles a perspective that concerns how human beings “idealize” what nature is and use this as a basis to create artificial environments for ourselves to exist within. However, at times, these fabricated environments can devolve into chaos. It is no longer just an issue of domesticating the land to make it livable, instead, Thomas is concerned with the way we transform our world into a suburban theme park. Through the combination of synthetic colors and naturalistic landscape, she seeks to capture the unnatural oddities of spaces such as swimming pools, miniature golf courses, and the medians used to decorate highways.
In her technique, distance becomes a form of abstraction. The artist likens it to the way a windowpane, computer screen, or camera obstructs the full view of an object. This allows her to explore a less traditional approach to the landscape by taking aerial perspectives — which forces a technologized view — or a minimalist approach — which puts the subject in stark relief. However, what remains a consistent vein between these works and her last presentation is the focus on man-made objects, otherworldly colors, and a disorienting portrayal of how humans have managed to make the natural sublime.