Painter, author and essayist Barbara Earl Thomas is among Seattle’s most emotionally evocative and socially engaged artists. Over the years, she has run the Northwest African American Museum, steered the Seattle Arts Commission and given countless spirited talks and lectures. She has also been the recipient of numerous awards, most recently the 2016 Artists Trust Irving and Yvonne Twining Humber Award.
Her solo exhibition Heaven on Fire, now on display at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, features a new body of work that includes linocuts as well as cut-paper altarpieces and etched blown-glass vessels. Thomas’ dramatic narrative format, her dynamic, stylized figures, and bright but nuanced palette are all present in these varied mediums, but their focus is new. Here she explores the act of bloodletting as a metaphor for the epidemic of young men killed by guns in our cities.
As always, biblical overtones echo through Thomas’ tableaux, conferring grace upon her subjects and helping us make sense of the violence in our world. Through 10/2. Times and prices vary. Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, Winslow, 550 Winslow Way E; 206.842.4451; biartmuseum.org