REVIEW | EXHIBITIONS :: «LIONEL THOMAS: ABSTRACTIONS 1949-1990» @ THE WEST VANCOUVER MUSEUM

The Dictator, Oil and tempera on canvas, 1949 | 129.5 cm x 107 cm, Private Collection

Summer Forms, Oil on canvas, 1950 | 80 cm  x 118 cm, West Vancouver Museum Collection

Mirage on a Hot Summer’s Day, Oil on canvas, 1951 | 121 cm x 72 cm, Private Collection

Untitled, Oil on canvas, 1953 | 54 cm x 45 cm, Private Collection

Rocky Islands (Islets) B.C. Coastal Waters, Egg tempera on board, 1987 | 51 x 40.5 cm, Private Collection

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As I toured “Abstractions” I kept thinking of B.C. Binning. And sure, enough, there inside the exhibition’s catalogue, was a quote from Bertram Charles Binning summarizing Thomas’s contribution to the New Spirit.

As a long-time fan of the Thomas’s work, this small (14 work) exhibit of the artists’ paintings and drawings was a revelation.

B.C. Binning, Ships and Tower, 1948, Oil on panel | Vancouver Art Gallery

B.C. Binning, Mosaic, B.C. Electric Building, Vancouver, 1957 | Thomson, Berwick, Pratt Architects

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The biggest surprise and delight was seeing Thomas’s sketch, “Ode to Joy,” his working concept for one of his hidden sculptural gems in Vancouver’s West End.

Ode To Joy (Conceptual Sketch), Conté crayon, coloured pencil, and ink on paper, c. 1965 | Private Collection (left); and An Abstraction, Conté crayon on paper board, 1951 | 46 cm x 30.5 cm, West Vancouver Museum Collection

The catalogue for “Astractions”  also includes details about the Thomas’s public work.

Bravo, once again WVM, for a great show!

Lionel + Patricia at work on their mural for the Brock Hall addition at UBC, a gift of the graduating class of 1958

Lionel and his paintings at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1948

Perhaps the most accessible Thomas: Symbols From the Cuneiforms, designed to adorn the then-new Central Library, is still at its original location at the corner of Burrard and Robson Streets, Vancouver

Super-Valu Supermarket Mural., c. 1960 | Photo > Williams Brothers Photographers, Ltd. Way too cool! I want to shop there!

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This funky mid-century modern chair in this old stone home.

West Vancouver: build a new gallery museum to rival your other recent masterpieces of civic architecture. It’s time to give this great institution a new home.

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