meet an artist mondayFor an abstract painter whose career has twinned engagement with modern art history and the mysteries of nature, Samantha Thomas is getting ready to show new paintings made entirely by starting over. Working equally in pigment and in thread in such a way as to highlight the heft of the canvas in its waves, weaves, and folds as much as the optical patterns in her newly bright color stories, Thomas plays with form and feeling, architecture and affect, depth of space and delight in craft. When her latest exhibition opens this weekend at Anat Ebgi Gallery in Los Angeles, it will be her first in the nearly six years since her home and studio were destroyed in the Woolsey Fire in 2018—and her close-call escape from the inferno with nothing but her dog and the clothes she was wearing. The suite of large, energetic paintings reflect a return to the bright side for the artist, a Phoenix-like path back to joy in both art and nature, that shines out from the deep folds and luminous colors of her abstract topographies.

samantha thomas

Samantha Thomas (Photo: Chad Unger)

L.A. WEEKLY: When did you first know you were an artist?

SAMANTHA THOMAS: I was playing golf at the University of Tulsa (#2 in the nation, Division 1) on a golf scholarship at the time with the hopes of potentially going pro. After taking one charcoal drawing class, I gave up my scholarship and moved to New York to become an artist.


What is your short answer to people who ask what your work is about?

My work addresses abstract ideas rooted in the history of painting.


Did you go to art school? Why/Why not?

I was fortunate enough to get into and attend ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena. I knew nothing about contemporary art and wanted that experience of learning how to make things. Little did I know it would be one of the best experiences and opportunities I could ever have.

Samantha Thomas In the Cadence of the Glow 2023

Samantha Thomas: In the Cadence of the Glow, 2023 (Courtesy of Anat Ebgi Gallery)

Why do you live and work in L.A., and not elsewhere?

For many reasons, but the most important ones being: I came here for art school and it felt like home, and at that time it was extremely affordable to have a studio and an art practice. The weather and the light are crucial; I often work outside and counting on the consistency of sunny days is a luxury I don’t take for granted. And lastly, I would say the access to materials (you can get anything on demand) as well as the access to all facets of the art world – especially now since L.A. has established itself as an arts center.


When is/was your current/most recent/next show or project?

My first solo show in eight years, Chromoception, opens Saturday, March 16 at Anat Ebgi Gallery here in L.A.

Thomas TBT 2023 ST1147 Alternate view 01 Credit Mason Kuehler e1710142102256

Samantha Thomas (Courtesy of Anat Ebgi Gallery. Photo: Mason Kuehler)

What artist living or dead would you most like to show or work with?

Louise Bourgeois.


Do you listen to music while you work? If so, what?

My taste in music is eclectic – I listen to everything across all genres including 40’s Hawaiian, Cuban/Salsa, Indie Rock, 90’s Country, Rap, Pop, you name it… as well as tons of audiobooks.


Website and social media handles, please!

IG: @Redsquare7

Thomas Heliosphere 2023 Credit Mason Kuehler

Samantha Thomas: Heliosphere (Courtesy of Anat Ebgi Gallery. Photo: Mason Kuehler)































































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