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Mildred Thompson: Helio Centric

Exhibition: February 16 - May 7, 2021

Reopening Announcement and Visiting Guidelines

Colorful lines

Mildred Thompson, Helio Centric III, 1993, vitreograph. Gift of Harvey K. and Bess Littleton.

Sunspot activity and cosmic movements fascinated Mildred Thompson, and she used these ideas as a jumping point to develop the abstract visual language for this series of vitreographs.

Recognized as one of many African American women artists of the 20th and 21st centuries that have made significant contributions to the art world, Mildred Thompson (1936-2003) pursued a multi-dimensional career as a studio artist, teacher, writer, and musician. She moved between different mediums, including painting, sculpture, and printmaking and was known for using scientific concepts as inspiration for her abstract art.

In 1993, while teaching at the Atlanta College of Art and working as the associate editor for Art Papers magazine, Thompson spent a week as an artist-in-residence at Littleton Studios in Spruce Pine, NC. Here she experimented with vitreography, a printmaking process that uses a glass plate to produce a printed image. 

During her residency, Thompson produced a series of prints entitled Helio Centric, a term used in astronomy to describe how the planets of our solar system revolve around the sun. 

Exhibition Acknowledgements

Mildred Thompson: Helio Centric was organized by the WCU Fine Art Museum and is part of an ongoing effort to showcase works from the Museum’s Permanent Collection. The Museum would like to thank Judith O’Rourke, Kate Vogel & John Littleton, Malaika Newsome, Melissa Messina, Galerie LeLong, and Emory University’s Rose Library for their research assistance during the development of this exhibition.

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