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Thomson Gives Gallery Talk, Exhibit

At Freed-Hardeman, you'll find professors who practice what they teach. Laquita Thomson, professor of art and art history, is certainly a case in point. The Mississippi native is a published author and active artist, with interests in painting, printmaking and photography. Her recent accomplishments include a gallery lecture in Birmingham and an exhibition at Union University.

Thomson gave a gallery talk and tour Sunday, Feb. 2, at the Central Branch of the Birmingham Public Library. Her talk, "Alabama Mystic or Alabama Outsider: The Art of Lois Wilson," accompanied an exhibit of Wilson's work.

According to Thomson, "Lois Wilson, a highly-trained artist, lived on the edge of poverty in the 1960s and 1970s, and she gathered debris from the streets to make unique art. Her last style before her death spoke to social issues such as ecology and conservation with humor."

"She has been one of my research subjects for a long time," Thomson said. "This lecture helped to introduce her to the art community of Birmingham." A couple of years ago, Thomson's research was utilized in "Treasures from the Rubble," a documentary about the work of Wilson. Filmmaker Alexandra Branyan referred to Thomson as "the most knowledgeable expert on Lois Wilson."

"Fabric in Landscape," an exhibition featuring 20 of Thomson's photographs, was shown at the Union University Art Gallery Jan. 7-Feb. 18. Thomson presented a lecture on her photography Monday, Feb. 17, at the closing reception for the exhibit.

Inspired by Christo's installations which often involved wrapping large objects in cloth, Thomson has combined her interests in fabric and photography by photographing tourist shots with the addition of fabric. The portfolio includes a photograph representing each of the fifty states.

She chose something in the state to represent it, determined a way to work one of her 65 pieces of tulle into it, and then photographed it. For example, a blooming mimosa tree enhanced with pink tulle represents South Carolina. Tennessee's photograph is of an East Tennessee waterfall near Dayton taken in autumn. The Mississippi shot features a cluster of bright orange trumpet flowers and vines against an old barn. The fabric is also bright orange. This photograph was taken near her aunt's house in Farmington, Miss. The 20" x 30" prints are photographs "done with a painting sensibility," she says.

Thomson's work has been exhibited widely for the past 35 years, showing at venues such as the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art and the Mississippi Museum of Art.

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