CURRENT ISSUE | SUMMER 2017: KINSHIP
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Artist

Denyse Thomasos

Denyse Thomasos

Born in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, in 1964.  Died in New York City in 2012.

Denyse Thomasos was known for large abstract paintings in which intensive, energetic, dynamic use of line and colour suggest everything from postmodern architecture and urbanism to 18th-century slave ships to the ever-present, corporeal containers of the human body. Born in Trinidad, Thomasos moved to Canada with her family in 1970 and grew up in Mississauga, Ontario. She came to prominence after moving to New York in the 1990s following an undergraduate degree in painting and art history at the University of Toronto and an MFA from Yale University. Early paintings made dark reference to the history of the slave trade and the Middle Passage; their sense of pressured, fragmented space carried over into later works. She received a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and a Joan Mitchell Foundation Award, among other honours, and her work was exhibited nationally and internationally. At the time of her death, Thomasos was a professor at Rutgers University and lived and worked in New York with her husband and daughter. Her work is in the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario and Oakville Galleries, among other institutions.