Born in 1991 in Chicago, IL, USA
Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA, USA

Chiffon THOMAS

Chiffon Thomas’s practice is an interdisciplinary one, ranging across hand embroidered mixed media painting, collage, drawing, and sculpture. Identifying as a trans queer person of color, Thomas’ powerful figurative assemblages examine the difficulties faced by defining one’s identity in contemporary society. Through contorted figures and fractured compositions that float seamlessly between historical and contemporary styles and references, Thomas portrays a form of self-expression that puts human touch at the forefront of his art. Reminiscent of the diverse, mixed media practices exhibited by Robert Rauschenberg, Faith Ringgold and David Hammons, Thomas’ own application of materiality becomes a language for translating cultural references and personal experiences. Raised with a strong religious upbringing, Thomas’ work often grapples with conflicting beliefs, values, and desires, primarily using tactile methods of hand embroidery, collaged found material and paint to perform as an expressive visual language that interprets personal feelings of nostalgia, longing to belong, and affirmations of self-identity. Scenes from family photographs are deconstructed into sketches and then built back up with colorful fibers, stitch by stitch. A sense of texture and dimensionality is achieved through the varying weights of thread, which are sometimes densely layered and other times sparse. Domestic scenes appear to shift in and out of focus, resulting in visceral collisions of abstraction and clarity that invite viewers to decode the fraught relations between memory and reality, visibility and understanding.

Thomas is the recent recipient of the Joan Mitchell Fellowship and the Fountainhead Residency. Recent exhibitions include Antithesis, Michael Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2021); Staircase to the Rose Window, P.P.O.W., New York, NY (2022); Dreaming of Home, Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, New York, NY (2023); Made in L.A. 2023: Acts of Living, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2023); and his first solo museum exhibition Chiffon Thomas: The Cavernous, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT. His work is included in the permanent collections of the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, FL; Pérez Art Museum, Miami, FL; Norton Museum, West Palm Beach, FL; Speed Museum of Art, Louisville, KY; Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, NH; and X Museum, Beijing, China; among others.

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education

2020 MFA in Painting, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA
2018 Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME, USA
2014 Bachelors in Fine Art and Art Education, The School of The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA

solo shows

2024
- Perrotin, Paris, France (forthcoming)
- Progeny, Michael Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, USA (forthcoming)

2023
- The Cavernous, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, curated by Amy Smith-Stewart, Ridgefield, CT, USA

2022
- Staircase to the Rose Window, P.P.O.W., New York, NY, USA

2021
- Antithesis, Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, USA

2019
- Chiffon Thomas: Fractured Reality, Goldfinch, Chicago, IL, USA

2018
- Soft Show, Roman Susan, Chicago, IL, USA

2015
- Roots & Culture “Yr It”, Gallery Frayed Solo, Chicago, IL, USA
- Stitched Perception, Intelligentsia Coffee, Chicago, IL, USA

group shows

2024 
- GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN: Black Folx and Their Church, Swivel Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, USA
- These Mad Hybrids, Royal West of England Academy, Bristol, UK

2023
- Intimate confession is a project, Blaffer Art Museum, Houston, TX, USA
- Made in LA 2023: Acts of Living, organized by Diana Nawi and Pablo José Ramírez, with Ashton Cooper, LuceCuratorial Fellow, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA, USA
- Dreaming of Home, Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, New York, NY, USA
- Full and Pure: Body, Materiality, Gender, Green Family Art Foundation, Dallas, TX, USA
- I’ve Gone to Look For America, Murmurs LA, Los Angeles, CA, USA
- Behind abstract forms, Fragment Gallery, New York, NY, USA
- Strings of Desire, Craft Contemporary, Los Angeles, CA, USA

2022
- Home/Work, San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, CA, USA
- Young, Gifted, and Black: The Lumpkin-Boccuzzi Family Collection of Contemporary Art, Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, Davis, CA, USA

2021
- Bitter Nest, Perrotin Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
- The Body in Art: From the Spiritual to the Sensual, Currier Museum, Manchester, NH, USA
- In Practice: You may go, but this will bring you back, Sculpture Center, Long Island City, NY, USA

2020
- A Chance Encounter, Parts & Labor, curated by Tunji Adeniyi- Jones, Beacon, NY, USA
- Shag: Provocative Textiles, curated by Laura Hutson Hunter, Nashville Scene, Nashville, TN, USA
- I Want To Feel Alice Again, Lyles & King, New York, NY, USA
- myselves, curated by Joshua Friedman, Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, USA
- MFA Thesis Show, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA
- Young, Gifted, and Black: Limpkin-Boccuzzi Family Collection of Contemporary Art, Lehman College Art Gallery, Bronx, NY, USA

2019
- Young, Gifted, and Black: Limpkin-Boccuzzi Family Collection of Contemporary Art, Osilas Gallery New York, NY, USA
- Paraíso Perdido, Theirry Goldberg Gallery New York, NY, USA
- Hand & I, Dorsky Gallery, Long Island City, NY, USA
- The Poetics of Relation, Gaylord and Dorthy Donnelley Foundation Chicago, IL, USA
- Big Painting: Organized by Jonathan Travis, Patrick Parrish Gallery New York, NY, USA

2016
- Visual Culture Exhibition “Art Wanted”, Throop Studios, Chicago, IL, USA

2015 
- Museum of Science and Industry Black Creativity Juried Exhibition, Chicago, IL, USA

2014
- Fresh JuJu, Gene Siske, Chicago, IL, USA
- Museum of Science and Industry Black Creativity Juried Exhibition, Chicago, IL, USA
- MLK Mural Competition International Hostel, Chicago, IL, USA
- BFA Exhibition, Sullivan Galleries, Chicago, IL, USA

2013
- South Side Community Art Center New Visions Art Exhibition, Chicago, IL, USA
- Museum of Science and Industry Black Creativity Juried Exhibition, Chicago, IL, USA
- MLK Mural Competition International Hostel, Chicago, IL, USA
- SAIC Accreditation Show, Chicago, IL, USA
- ExFest Film Screening Stop Motion Animation “Don”, Chicago, IL, USA

2012
- SUGS Projects Exhibition, Chicago, IL, USA
- MLK Mural Competition International Hostel, Chicago, IL, USA

2011
- Museum of Science and Industry Black Creativity Juried Exhibition, Chicago, IL, USA

public collections

- Studio Museum of Harlem, New York, NY, USA
- Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA, USA
- Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, FL, USA
- Pérez Art Museum, Miami, FL, USA
- Norton Museum, West Palm Beach, FL, USA
- Currier Museum of Art Manchester, NH, USA
- X Museum, Beijing, China
- EMDASH Foundation GmbH, Berlin Germany
- Diaspora Rhythms Collective Marvin Wells and Patricia Wells, Chicago, IL, USA
- Daniel Berger Founder of Iceberg Projects Collection, Chicago, IL, USA
- The Bunker Artspace, West Palm Beach, FL, USA

Residencies

2020
- Fountainhead Residency, Miami, FL, USA

2019
- Yale Critical Practice Fellowship Travel Grant, Palazzo Monti, Italy

2018
- Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME, USA

2017
- ACRE, August 3-16th 2017 Steuben, WI, USA

  • December 10, 2023
    Observer — 6 PAGES

  • October 12, 2023
    Artnews — 3 PAGES

  • June 23, 2023
    Joan Mitchell Foundation — 12 PAGES

  • May 23, 2023
    Patch — 2 PAGES

  • April 9, 2023
    Flaunt Magazine — 10 PAGES