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William Paul Thomas: Breathin’ Different

William Paul Thomas: Breathin’ Different

Oil painting of a young African American man's head, the top half painted blue, by William Paul Thomas.
William Paul Thomas, “Yvonne’s Baby Boy,” 2019, oil on canvas, 36 x 24 inches

Exhibition: October 24 – December 12, 2019
Artist Lecture: Wednesday, October 23, 205 Smith Hall, 5 pm
Opening reception: Thursday, October 24, 5-7 pm

The Sarah Moody Gallery of Art presents the work of artist William Paul Thomas in an exhibition titled Breathin’ Different. Thomas will give a public lecture on his work on Wednesday, October 23 in 205 Smith Hall at 5:00 p.m.  The exhibition will open Thursday, October 24 with a reception for the artist from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. The show will run through December 12.

The portraits in this exhibition are of African American men whose faces are rendered partly in blue—a reference to a condition known as cyanosis, in which improperly oxygenated blood causes blueness of the skin. Thomas explained his idea in an online interview, “I apply that term to this series of work showing black men as a metaphor for any sort of deprivation. This could be applied to people in certain conditions or it could be thinking about what [we] are lacking that keeps us from having a life well lived. We all exist in this kind of duality – living our normal life but then having this other thing we might be oppressed by or stressed out by … lacking something that keeps us from doing well.” Thomas selects models for his paintings from among his personal relationships and people in his immediate social network, which adds further layers of meaning to the works.

William Paul Thomas received his BFA from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and his MFA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is based in Durham, North Carolina, and was recently artist in residence at Duke University, and has served as the inaugural Brock Family Visiting Instructor in Studio Arts at Duke. Thomas has exhibited widely and held several residencies, his most recent in 2019 at Duke University’s Rubenstein Arts Center.

Funding support for the Sarah Moody Gallery of Art comes from the department of art and art history and the College of Arts and Sciences. Admission to the gallery is free. Hours are Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and until 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays. The gallery is located at 103 Garland Hall in the heart of UA campus on Woods Quad.

Find information about visitor parking on the UA Parking Services website. Parking is free on campus in a legal space after business hours. For further information, contact the Sarah Moody Gallery of Art at 348-1891.