Denyse Thomasos. Arc, 2009.

Denyse Thomasos. Arc, 2009. Acrylic on canvas, overall: 335.3 × 609.6 cm. Art Gallery of Ontario. Purchase, with funds from the Women's Art Initiative, 2022. © The Estate of Denyse Thomasos and Olga Korper Gallery, Photo: Michael Cullen. 2021/356

Denyse Thomasos: just beyond

October 5, 2022 - February 20, 2023

Located on the 5th floor.

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EXHIBITION OVERVIEW

One of the finest painters to emerge in the 1990s, the late Trinidadian-Canadian artist Denyse Thomasos (1964-2012) left an indelible, yet frequently overlooked, mark on contemporary painting. A career retrospective, Denyse Thomasos: just beyond, brings together more than 70 paintings and works on paper, many rarely seen, to show how she challenged the limits of abstraction, infusing personal and political content onto her canvases through the innovative use of formalist techniques. Through pattern, scale and repetition, Thomasos conveys the vastness of events such as the transatlantic slave trade without exploiting the images of those who were most affected.

Organized chronologically, the exhibition features sections devoted to the artist’s primary areas of research, illustrated with major works on loan from museums and private collections in Toronto, Montreal and New York City. Working closely with her family and gallerist, curators are supplementing the exhibition with sketches, photographs and newly uncovered documentary footage of Thomasos working in her studio. The exhibition will also be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, co-published by AGO, Remai Modern and DelMonico Books • D.A.P., and co-edited by exhibition curators Renée van der Avoird, Assistant Curator, Canadian Art, AGO; Sally Frater, Curator of Contemporary Art, Art Gallery of Guelph; and Michelle Jacques, Head of Exhibitions and Collections / Chief Curator, Remai Modern.

This exhibition is organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto and Remai Modern, Saskatoon.


ABOUT THE ARTIST

Born in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, the acclaimed painter Denyse Thomasos was raised in Toronto and spent most of her professional career in Philadelphia and New York City. Thomasos earned a BA in Painting and Art History from the University of Toronto in 1987. She attended the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in 1988 and the following year completed her MFA in Painting and Sculpture, Yale School of Art, Yale University. Throughout her career she attended various residencies, such as the Ucross Foundation Artist Residency, in Ucross, Wyoming in 2000 and the Bogliasco Foundation Artist Residency in Genoa, Italy in 2003. She won numerous prestigious awards, including the Guggenheim Fellowship Prize in 1997; the Joan Mitchell Foundation award in 1998; and the New York Foundation for the Arts award in 2008; as well as grants from both the Canada Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her work has been collected by private collectors, as well as major corporate and public institutions, including Rutgers University, New Jersey; Canada Council Art Bank, Ottawa; Bank of Montreal, Toronto; Banque Nationale du Canada, Montreal; Art Gallery of Guelph; Oakville Galleries; the Hart House Collection at the University of Toronto, and private collections throughout Canada and the United States. When Thomasos died tragically in 2012, she was at the height of her career, with major museum shows, a full professorship, New York and Toronto gallery representation, and many prestigious awards and residencies.


ARTWORKS FROM THE EXHIBITION

Denyse Thomasos, Maiden Flight

Denyse Thomasos, Maiden Flight, 2010. Acrylic on canvas, overall: 152.4 x 182.9 cm. Art Gallery of Ontario. Gift of Gabrielle Israelievitch in memory of her beloved husband Jacques, 2018. © The Estate of Denyse Thomasos and Olga Korper Gallery. 2018/5.

Denyse Thomasos, Maiden Flight
Denyse Thomasos, Dismantle #2

Denyse Thomasos, Dismantle #2, 1998. Acrylic on canvas, overall: 160 x 183 x 4.1 cm. Art Gallery of Ontario. Gift of Richard and Donna Ivey, 2019. © The Estate of Denyse Thomasos and Olga Korper Gallery. 2019/2432.

Denyse Thomasos, Dismantle #2
Denyse Thomasos, Untitled (Self-Portrait)

Denyse Thomasos, Untitled (Self-Portrait), 1984-1985. Acrylic on canvas, overall: 121 x 91.5 cm. Art Gallery of Ontario. Gift of Gail and Gerald Luciano, in memory of Denyse Thomasos, 2022. © The Estate of Denyse Thomasos and Olga Korper Gallery. 2022/27.

Denyse Thomasos, Untitled (Self-Portrait)
Denyse Thomasos. Untitled (Kingdom Come)

Denyse Thomasos. Untitled (Kingdom Come), 2011. Acrylic on paper, preparatory drawing for Kingdom Come, a site-specific installation at Oakville Galleries, 77.5 × 111.8 cm. Collection of Oakville Galleries, purchased with the support of the Elizabeth L. Gordon Art Program of the Gordon Foundation, administered by the Ontario Arts Foundation, and the Corporation of the Town of Oakville, 2022. © The Estate of Denyse Thomasos and Olga Korper Gallery, Photo: Craig Boyko.

Denyse Thomasos. Untitled (Kingdom Come)
Denyse Thomasos. Rally

Denyse Thomasos. Rally, 1994. Acrylic on canvas, 274.32 x 426.72 cm. Courtesy of The Estate of Denyse Thomasos and Olga Korper Gallery. © The Estate of Denyse Thomasos and Olga Korper Gallery, Photo: Andre Beneteau.

Denyse Thomasos. Rally
Denyse Thomasos. Excavations: Courtyards in Surveillance

Denyse Thomasos. Excavations: Courtyards in Surveillance, 2007. Acrylic on canvas, 106.68 x 152.4 cm. From the collection of Bob Harding. © The Estate of Denyse Thomasos and Olga Korper Gallery, Photo: Michael Cullen.

Denyse Thomasos. Excavations: Courtyards in Surveillance
Denyse Thomasos. Untitled

Denyse Thomasos. Untitled, 2012. Acrylic on canvas, 186.06 x 242.57 cm. From the collection of Bob Harding. © The Estate of Denyse Thomasos and Olga Korper Gallery.

Denyse Thomasos. Untitled

DESCRIPTIVE AUDIO GUIDE

Audio description of artworks help remove barriers to our collections and exhibitions. Artworks will be highlighted through creative audio description, a type of spoken language describing visual images or objects, which enables audiences to engage and pursue their own journey in relation to visual art.

Download the Descriptive Audio Guide Transcript (PDF 69 KB)




PAST EVENTS reusable block

PAST EVENTS

Workshops
Art Enables: Denyse Thomasos
Tuesday, November 1, 11 AM

This workshop series supports participants who identify as having intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Relaxed Visits 3-5 PM
Tuesdays November 1 and December 6, 3 PM

The AGO is piloting new Relaxed Visit times, so you can visit in a relaxed and supportive environment.

What is a Relaxed Visit?

Talks
Curator Talk: Denyse Thomasos: just beyond
Friday, October 28, 6 PM

Join exhibition co-curator, and curator of contemporary art at the Art Gallery of Guelph, Sally Frater for a conversation about Denyse Thomasos:

Workshops
Pop-Up Life Drawing Studio Inspired By Denyse Thomasos: just beyond
Fridays in October, 6 - 9 PM

Inspired by Thomasos’ early figurative drawings on view in the AGO exhibition

Member Exclusive
Special Events
Members' Access - Denyse Thomasos: just beyond
Wednesday, October 5 - Friday, October 7

Experience a career retrospective, Denyse Thomasos: just beyond, brings together more than 70 paintings and works on paper, many rare

Talks
Adrienne Edwards: Blackness in Abstraction and the Work of Denyse Thomasos
Wednesday, February 24. 2021

This program happened in February 2021. Please enjoy this recording of the presentation. 

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