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19 December 2016
Christmas Table by Margaret Thomas (1916-2016): very like one of the tables in the shop at the moment. ‘In Margaret Thomas’s work, as in her life, there was a down-to-earth poetry and a complete rejection of all pretentiousness. Her key influences were Braque and Philip Wilson Steer and the creative tension produced between these two giants led to what she termed as “a long tug-o-war” in her studio. The happy result was a flow of evocative pictures, underpinned by robust draughtsmanship and deft, almost abstract design. Working solely in oils, and always indoors, Margaret Thomas painted commonplace subjects (flowers, interiors, water-dominated landscapes) which were rendered extraordinary by her singular vision. Somehow she never repeated herself, but always found a fresh angle and a new light. Returning most frequently to the motif of a dying flower, she draws endless inspiration from these spiky, spectral and sculptural presences. “Fading, dried, left to themselves, flowers begin to die from the beginning. When picked they must be left alone to fulfil their destinies, to orientate to the light, to sort out their relative strengths, to stabilise and to mature. They cannot be arranged. All this I seek to show in my paintings.” But rather than appearing elegiac, each Thomas flower piece attests to the strength and the beauty of nature’ (New English Art Club).
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