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Austin Thomas: Studies
Austin Thomas: Studies
January 20 – March 3 2012
Opening Reception: Friday, January 20, 6-8 pm
Heiner Contemporary is thrilled to announce the opening of “Studies,” a solo exhibition of work by New York artist Austin Thomas, featuring collage, figure drawings, sketchbooks, prints, and installation. The show centers on an interactive desk that engages visitors in a social space where they can talk, read, draw, think, and listen. It also provides the site of a series of salon-style events that bring members of the artistic community into the gallery for special programs in conjunction with the show. “Studies” fosters conversations between many voices and creates a milieu for reflection and exchange.
Thomas’s practice is varied; it shifts between personal narrative and public action, ranging from sketchbook diaries that explore the artist’s everyday experiences to hybrid sculptural/architectural objects created to facilitate thought and discussion. In 2007, she founded Pocket Utopia, an artist-run gallery in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, and in 2003 drove cross-country in an El Camino, providing a moving venue for free lectures about art. Each of these projects reflects the artist’s goal of building spontaneous communities around art.
At Heiner Contemporary, Thomas continues her relational undertaking. In addition to her desk as “social sculpture,” she turns each wall of the gallery into a conversation piece with text works, collaged book pages, origami-like objects, and sketchbooks juxtaposed in dialogue with one another. The text pieces, comprised of a single word or short sentence appropriated from conversations overheard by the artist, reflect Thomas’s interest in verbal and written communication, while her sketchbooks, installed as scrolls, showcase the artist’s lyrical documentation of daily life. For the exhibition, she introduces a new text-based print titled “Have A Super Fantastic Day,” and furthers -- through drawing and painting -- a series of figurative studies.
Thomas has organized the following events to take place during the show:
A graduate of NYU, Thomas is the recipient of several awards, including a current studio award from the Elizabeth Foundation, a Public Art Fund Commission, and a sculpture commission from Grinnell College. Thomas has exhibited nationally as well internationally in Australia, Hungary and at the Kunsthalle Exnergasse in Vienna, Austria. In Washington, DC, Thomas has shown at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, where she is represented in the collection, and at the entrance to the Metro in Arlington, VA, where “Dreamer: An Eyrie Perch,” one of her public sculptures, was on view in 2006. In New York, she has exhibited at the Drawing Center, the Sculpture Center, and Storefront Gallery in Brooklyn, and in 2010, NYC’s Department of Cultural Affairs awarded her a commission to create a permanent public piece for a new park in Brooklyn. Thomas’s work will be featured in an upcoming book titled “Living and Sustaining a Creative Life: Essays by 40 Working Artists.” She continues to foster community amongst artists through various curatorial projects and maintains a blog titled “Drawing on the Utopic,” where she writes about all things utopic.
Austin Thomas: Studies will be on view at Heiner Contemporary January 20 – March 3, 2012. The gallery will host an opening reception on Friday, January 20 from 6-8pm. Heiner Contemporary is located at 1675 Wisconsin Avenue, NW. For more information about the gallery and upcoming exhibitions, email firstname.lastname@example.org