Cover for Denyse Thomasos: just beyond
Art Gallery of Ontario
Denyse Thomasos: just beyond
“Denyse Thomasos forged a form of abstraction that depicted the unspeakable and unimaginable confinement in slave ships and prisons.” –Adrienne Edwards, New York Times.
Edited with text by Renée van der Avoird, Sally Frater, Michelle Jacques. Text by Adrienne Edwards, Marsha Pearce, Denise Ryner
Designed by Lara Minja, Lime Design
Published 2023 | ISBN: 9781636810812

This is the first ever retrospective publication on Trinidadian Canadian painter Denyse Thomasos (1964–2012). Thomasos’ often monumental canvases with overlapping gridded lines, fluid drips of paint and geometric architectural objects challenge the limits of minimalism and abstraction, while also embodying her dedication to social justice. Through pattern, scale and repetition, Thomasos conveyed the vastness of events such as the Transatlantic slave trade and mass incarceration, without exploiting the images of those affected by them. Thomasos writes: “like a carpenter, I rebuild the fragmented psychology of slave culture, revealing its fragile foundation.”

A series of essays addresses Thomasos’ dissection of art historical traditions; her interest in global architectures and physical structures of power and resistance; her focus on the history of slavery; and her commitment to exposing narratives of systemic racism.