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Thomases Creates a New Art Form

Stained Glass and Stainless Steel in the Round and Outdoors, Abstract Tree - Spring (2011-2013) 15 ft. High

After many years of drawing and dreaming, Thomases launched his effort to create a three dimensional stained glass and stainless steel sculpture for outdoors in 2011. He did drawings, researched methods and built trial sub-components. With the assistance of an architecture student and advanced 3D software, he designed the key shapes of the Abstract Tree and produced printed construction drawings from eight different angles. In the spring of 2012, he set up a full welding workshop in a barn and hired two assistants, including an experienced master welder. Sub-components were built in jigs and other geometric shapes were added free-form after the basic steel branches were completed. The “Tree” has between 2,000 and 2,800 welded joints. The steel construction and artistic decisions took eight months. At the same time, Thomases began working with a stained glass supplier to select colors and textures of glass for the tree. Special “branches” were built just to test the construction methods as well as the impact of weather. Between January and May of 2013, over 850 pieces of stained glass were cut, fitted and attached to the steel frame. In June the sculpture was moved out of the barn and placed on a nearby hill. Only when the sculpture left the barn and interacted with the sun and blue sky did its multi-colored “spring explosion” come to life.

Artscape Honors Herman Melville and the White Whale (2011-2012)

AHAB (1986) 14" H on a 16" pole, bronze

Pittsfield, MA celebrated the 160th anniversary of the publication of Moby Dick by offering honorariums to seven sculptors to install artwork inspired by the famous American novel. Thomases sculpture of Captain Ahab was selected to receive one of the honors. In order to adapt the sculpture for outside display, Matt built a “bow shaped” base 7' long and 4' high and placed AHAB, supported by its 16" pole, above the bow looking straight out (over the waves) toward the White Whale. AHAB’s head is sliced open on one side to reveal his “mind” at the moment that he begins to realize he is doomed.

The Tree Stands

The Tree Stands (2010)

A bronze landscape corner-relief inspired 35" H, 33" W, 26" D

Thomases made drawings for this sculpture using Van Gogh paintings as his inspiration including: Road with Cypress and Star (1990), Starry Night (1889), Olive Grove (1889) and Cypresses (1889). He actually built the basic relief shape in clay between 1997 and 2002. Matt’s focus was on the tension between Van Gogh’s sky and his terrestrial forms. The fields, mountains and trees have strength and weight and they reflect light. The sky moves and swirls with powerful energy and has pulsating suns, stars and moons. Thomases designed this “pinwheel” shaped sculpture, fusing the land and sky, to create a sense of spinning. He struggled to sculpt a central tree that has the feeling of Van Gogh’s cypresses. Finally, in 2009, after setting aside two clay trees, he sculpted the cypress directly in wax before casting. The finished sculpture has a hidden inner light so that it can be viewed both with a spot (to project a hot sun) or can be dimly lit as in Starry Night. Thomases chose to use high-color painted patina to try to approach Van Gogh’s pallet. He decided to omit the peasants but to add an abstract figure walking out of this “awesome world”. The sculpture is mounted in a high corner of a large living room between 8' and 11.5' above the floor.

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