Frances Thomas, August Heat, acrylic on wood panel, 91.5 x 91.5 cm. Collection of the MacLaren Art Centre, 2010. Purchased with the support of the Canadian Council for the Arts Acquisition Assistance program and a bequest from John Reesor.
Acrylic on wood panel
91.5 x 91.5 cm
Collection of the MacLaren Art Centre, 2010
Purchased with the support of the Canadian Council for the Arts Acquisition Assistance program and a bequest from John Reesor.
Frances Thomas is a respected regional artist known for her distinctive abstract paintings and prints. In August Heat, Thomas combines gestural forms with a bright palette to evoke a sense of time, temperature and emotion.
The piece, which alludes to traditions of modernist painting, was a response to the extremely hot weather at the time of its making. Thomas’s bold strokes and layered composition portray a simple moment of clarity through a haze. Her mark making extends the length of the painting, allowing the viewer’s eye to capture the entire work and beyond. The work conveys a flowing motion yet, at the same time, it conjures a sense of stillness as if captured in a moment in time.
The palette is bold, and captures the familiar warmth of summer in shimmering orange. Some of the pigment from the paint is absorbed into the wood panel, which lends the piece a translucent dimensionality. An abstract landscape of heat is uncovered, offering a singular emotive response and sensory experience for each viewer. The size and square format of August Heat allows the viewer to achieve a certain physical relationship with the work, drawing them in to examine more closely the intricate interactions between pigment and ground, fluidity and stillness.
Frances Thomas was born in Parry Sound in 1949. She completed her BFA at York University in 1998 followed by her MFA at York University in 2015. Her artwork has been shown around North America including a solo show at the MacLaren Art Centre in 2009 titled but wait. Thomas resides in Barrie where she currently works part time at Georgian College as well as working as a curator and coordinator of the art program and permanent collection at the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre.
-Megan Stevenato, Curatorial Assistant