Patricia Renee' Thomas
A Joined Hush
June 1 - September 23, 2023
Gaa Projects Cologne
Gaa Gallery is pleased to present A Joined Hush, a solo exhibition featuring recent paintings and works on paper by Philadelphia based-artist Patricia Renee’ Thomas. Opening on June 1, the exhibition will be on view through July 15 at Gaa Projects, Cologne.
My sisters and I have had many moments of reunion as of late. As we all experience growth, ache, sadness, sickness, joy, and accomplishments, we experience them together, as if we account for one body with many, many limbs. Her worries are my worries. Her sick is my illness. Her laughter came from my mouth. This body of work attempts to materialize the experience of this plural existence of shared fear, shared joy, and shared hope through a series of delicate drawings and bright, piercing paintings depicting my sisters and muses: Melissa, Veronica, and Olivia.
-Patricia Renee' Thomas, May 2023
Gathering together, the work of Patricia Renee’ Thomas collects the stories of family and the shared body that is created through the interdependence of people. Through depicting the collective narratives of her and her sisters, Thomas' work insists on the empathetic connectivity of kinship. Portraying the intimate relationships of her sisters, the work in A Joined Hush draws on the respite and care offered by these relationships. The joy of gathering, the reassurance of an embrace, and togetherness in times of loss, grief, and celebration, Thomas memorializes these moments where the singular body is not one but many.
In her practice, Thomas employs painting and drawing through portraits and figurative works to convey and reimagine lived and inherited experiences. Using her Black girlhood as a foundational framework, Thomas embraces memory as an opportunity for reflection and rest. In the past, she manifests new places. Rewriting scenarios of supposed racial neutrality and socialized rules, Thomas rebuilds narratives and spaces where Black femme bodies are safe and at ease.
Depicting memory and experience through vivid use of color, texture, and gestural brush strokes, Thomas evokes emotion with vibrational color combinations. Through a variety of mark making techniques and the saturation of color, the work moves within the edge of the picture plane while sometimes exceeding the edge with elements of collage.
In A Joined Hush, Thomas offers moments of interaction, where the body is rendered literally with other bodies, becoming a new body together. Two hands sharing the same fingers, two faces merging with the eye as a point of connection, a tree with faces branding off from the same trunk. In a state of transformation and reciprocity, bodies flow between one another. Thomas imagines new realities where the body and the environment are not policed or colonized but shared and cared for. While depicting memory, emotion, and experience through careful use of color and imagery, Thomas creates a visualization of the future and what she refers to as an "immersion into a femme safe haven."
Patricia Renee’ Thomas (b. 1995 Philadelphia, PA, USA) is a Philadelphia-based painter, drawer, and art educator, with a BFA from the Tyler School of Art and Architecture and an MFA from the University of Pennsylvania's Weitzman School of Design. She is a 2021 recipient of the Meyer Family Award for Contemporary Art in collaboration with The Colored Girls Museum and a 2021 recipient of the Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship. She has recently exhibited with Kravets-Wehby Gallery in Chelsea, New York; Kapp Kapp Gallery in Philadelphia; Gaa Gallery in Cologne, Germany; the Delaware Contemporary in Wilmington, DE; the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center in Chicago as well as the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. Thomas was an arts educator at Church of the Advocate in North Philadelphia, a Black History and social justice community staple, and is currently an oil painting and drawing instructor at the University of Pennsylvania, University of the Arts.