Barbara Earl Thomas is a talented visual storyteller who has drawn from history, literature, folklore, mythology, and biblical stories over her forty-year career to reflect the social fabric of our times. Her figural and narrative imagery has a deeply philosophical and emotional force, and light and dark have been especially potent concepts in her work. In The Illuminated Body, Thomas’s light-filled artworks and portraiture encourage the viewer to reflect on how we communicate ourselves to the world and how we perceive those around us.
In addition to two-dimensional works that give an illusion of illumination, the exhibition includes three-dimensional works in other media that draw on the same working methods and aesthetic results as those of Thomas’s cut-and-layered paper works. Glass vessels with sand-carved imagery glow with the light that passes through the translucent material, while the bodies of visitors will be bathed in light and shadow as they step inside The Box gallery to enter Transformation Room, a space surrounded with Tyvek curtains that have been cut to filter the light.
Demonstrating the artist’s talent across a wide range of artistic mediums including paper, glass, and Tyvek (an industrial material made from polyethylene fibers), the Chrysler-curated exhibition will be on view in the Museum’s Glass Projects Space and The Box galleries from February 24 to August 20, 2023.