Chanel Chiffon Thomas plunges us deep into the heart of her family. Her medium of choice is embroidery. But she seems inspired by Renaissance portraiture. Has embroidery ever claimed so high a goal? And succeeded so well! Thomas' use of thread in such a painterly manner distinguishes her work amidst a rapidly growing interest in embroidery by contemporary artists. Her "brushwork" is rough and exhilarating. Yet her use of color is careful, exquisite - a multifarious explosion of raw and untidy, yet precise, embroidery. All the shadows and gradations of color, the unique “hand” of the artist that you admire in the finest paintings, the unmistakable dedication and love… they are all there.

Our exhibit features work that focuses on Chanel's childhood years in the intimacy of her family and the obvious joy and comfort she felt sitting together with them to watch classic TV shows like In Living Color, The Big Comfy Couch, and All That. These works are imbued with her deep love and respect for her family, and the warmth of the hearth (the glowing TV) that they shared. It is these qualities that bestow a luminosity to the work that draws us closely into the family circle.

Embroidery has always been a labor of love. What’s so special about Thomas’ work is the inextricable bond between the labor of making – patient, persistent, meditative, restorative – and the love that inspires and fuels it. Embroidery is the medium of intimacy, passed down through generations as the vehicle of gentle and cautionary wisdom. And it is a plain-speaking medium, one that serves Thomas well in illuminating the downright joy, humor, warmth, and sympathy that is the universal currency of genuine human relationships.

Da Big Comfy Couch 2017 Embroidery thread, sewing thread, fabric, acrylic paint 44” x 70” $7,500.

WhenWillCameToLowe 2017 Embroidery thread, acrylic paint on canvas and burlap 32” x 45” $3,000. SOLD

All That 1 2017 Embroidery floss, yarn, acrylic paint, on fabric 54” x 62” $5,500. SOLD

All That 2 2017 Embroidery thread, yarn, acrylic paint on fabric 46” x 35” $4,000.

Family In The Kitchen 2017 Embroidery floss, yarn, acrylic paint, on canvas 43.5” x 52” $7,000.

WWHD (What Would Homey Do)? 2017 Embroidery thread, acrylic paint on fabric 53” x 60” $7,000.

About the Artist
Chanel C. Thomas was born in 1991 in Chicago, IL. She is an interdisciplinary artist working often in hand embroidery, mixed media painting, and ceramic sculpture. She completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Art Education from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago in 2014. Thomas began her career as an educator teaching in Chicago Public Schools from 2014-2017. She was a 2018 resident at the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in Maine, and is currently attending Yale University pursuing a Master Fine Art in Painting. Since 2010, Thomas has been a part of group exhibitions around Chicago, including projects at Gene Siskel Film Center, Museum of Science and Industry, Roots & Culture, South Side Community Art Center, and Woman Made Gallery. She has had one person shows at Roman Susan Gallery and Goldfinch Gallery in Chicago. Thomas will participate in forthcoming exhibitions in the spring of 2019 at Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Chicago, and Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs in Queens, New York. For more information Artist Website.