By: Diane Granahan
A small and brilliant exhibition, organized by the Studio Museum Harlem and the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, has recently opened to showcase the work of pioneering African-American artist, Alma Thomas. The exhibition is at the Studio Museum in Harlem and leads us down the path of her late-bloomer career, which she began at the age of 69, after her retirement from teaching. Never jaded and fully believing in the infinite power of possibilities, Thomas expanded upon traditional Abstract Expressionist and Washington Color School Practices, while creating her own path outside of the commonly known white, male-dominant community of artists surrounding her during the '60s and '70s. A greatly inspired woman, she took influences from Kandinsky and the Apollo lunar landings, while forging passionately through various experimentations with a deeply personal style that is both radiant and joyful. Her vividly colorful paintings are simultaneously precise and free - with layered, blocky brush strokes giving way to lattice works that create ebullient patterns in negative space. Worth a visit for those in, near, or visiting the greater New York City area.