Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gloria Thomas - Liturgical Artist

It never ceases to amaze me the number of traditional Catholic artists practicing quietly out there, and yet seldom coming to our attention. It is increasingly apparent that there is a great deal of talent available, and a thirst on the part of the faithful, but the problem is getting the two together in one place. The internet has helped this problem of supply and demand somewhat, but there are still those who are unjustly overlooked.

I hope this post will go some way to remedying this oversight with regard to the splendid work of painter Gloria Thomas, whose balanced, intriguing mixture of realism and stylization is both traditional and arrestingly immediate, exploring the sort of iconographic issues that artists must grapple with if any progress is to be made in the realm of liturgical and devotional art. Ms. Thomas is a long-practicing Lexington, Kentucky-based painter whose work has graced, among other things, Duncan Stroik's All Saints' Church in Walton, Kentucky, several monasteries and Catholic parishes, and even a number of Protestant churches and organizations. Let us hope for the appearance of her work in even more places. Ms. Thomas's work has a strong sense of the medieval spirit, as well as a meticulous sense of its traditions and symbolism, without being straitjacketed by it.

Incidentally, the last three images above are portions of her work executed for the Great Cross or hanging rood at St. Bernard Abbey in Cullman, Alabama. A view of the object in situ can be seen here, in a rather handsome, if perhaps very austere architectural context.

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