Raised closely with her identical twin sister, Terri Thomas grew up acutely aware of our cultural fascination with facsimiles. At a young age, she and her sister were viewed as uncanny.  While their individual identities were continually negated, Thomas observed how the media oversexualized and stereotyped female twins for the sake of selling commodities. She learned how identical twins were exploited in laboratory trials, as one twin would be observed as the experimental subject, and the other the control. And how Twins were used to demonstrate product ‘before and afters,’ show the side effects of various drug treatments, and be a source of study for the ‘nature vs nurture’ debate. 

Following in family footsteps, Thomas became an Art Director in the fashion industry for over a decade, until she became overly concerned with the ascribed, fabricated, unattainable ideals proposed by the industry. Overwhelmed with how we as a society are conditioned to desire, identify with, and be informed by the media, Thomas left her career and enrolled in art school.

Interested in Anthropology, Psychology and Metaphysics, Thomas’ work regards performativity as a means to learn of the (true) Self, the Other, our interconnectivity and reflect the world in which we inhabit. Performative paintings question underlying presumptions, defy categorization, and challenge hegemonic and self-imposed systems, while connecting autobiographical elements with political, social and cultural events.  Her work is political, boldly exposing an external world as her subjects move in and out of perceived power.  She undauntedly reveals self-referential, internal relationships, while asking us to question what we think we know about human nature, psychological relationships of power (“the gaze”), feminism (female empowerment) and spirituality. 

Thomas investigates a range of theoretical issues, confronting ideas of female sexuality (female assertion and autonomy), body-commodification, agency, contradictions of desire, temporality, beauty as strategy, high-brow art versus low-brow art, art historic patriarchy, parody and the staged body. Personal identity is side-stepped through character creation and the performance of gender to center on the psychological, sociological, and transcendent implications of the human condition. Her work is intended to act as a mirror within an encumbered representational structure and reflect our Western society.

She thinks of her exhibitions as ‘vessels within a vessel.’  Each of her series is conceived as an installation (a comprehensive vessel) where standalone paintings and sculptures come together in dialogue to show a progression, a form of story-telling, or transformation. Permeating the invisible wall between art and the viewer, Thomas’ socially-engaged happenings create an inviting space, or ‘mimetic stage,’ to place the viewer at the center of the work to deepen narratives, allow for unexpected encounters, or reveal human behavior.  Performative sculptures and installations are personified, emerging, and relational within the environment to create agency within the viewer.

Granted numerous awards and scholarships during her studies at the Corcoran College of Art + Design in Washington DC, Thomas graduated in 2004 with honors and a specialty in painting.  She has had solo exhibitions in Chelsea NY, Washington DC, Houston TX and Austin TX.  In addition, her work has been shown internationally in Italy, Germany, Thailand, China, Ukraine, Venezuela and Mexico.  She has exhibited in numerous Miami and New York art fairs and awarded several national and International Artist-in-Residency programs.  Thomas works and resides in Austin Texas.

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