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Lionel Thomas: Works from the Collection

Lionel Thomas 

September 10-November 4, 2013
McGill Library

Lionel Thomas (1915-2005) is known for his mosaic murals and public sculptures which were commissioned by universities, churches, government agencies and private businesses in British Columbia and across Canada. Prior to his career in public art, he worked in a variety of media including printmaking. Born and raised in Toronto, Thomas studied figurative art at a number of schools in the city. In 1940 he moved with his wife, artist Patricia Thomas, to Vancouver, where he began a teaching career at the Vancouver School of Art.

Thomas travelled to Massachusetts to study modernist aesthetics and design at the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts and continued his studies under Mark Rothko at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco. From the 1940s to the 1960s, Thomas exhibited his paintings extensively in Canada and internationally. In 1973, Thomas began a series of enameled copper plaques that interpreted elements of the universe, such as galaxies, solar systems and constellations. The works exhibited here incorporate astronomical signs and symbols in bold colours, and are from the period of 1976-1983.