Gwennan Thomas

Dry Narratives

Acrylic on Organic Terry Towelling Cotton 

In Dry Narratives, loose imagery forms through acts of material resistance. The terry pile fabric disrupts the absorbency and flow of paint, pigment and mineral, creating a barrier. As the paint dries, softness gives way to stiffness and the matted fibres lose their comforting touch. This raises the question: to go with or resist the flow?

Using organic terry towel cotton and pigments like rose madder, indigo, and lapis lazuli, the work invites us to explore our relationship with symbols of luxury and to question the origins and histories of these materials. Pigments blend with iridescent powders, graphite, and mica particles, prompting us to reflect on the boundaries between kitsch, cosmetics, and decoration, and what associations we have with these elements.

Gwennan Thomas is a Franco-British artist who grew up in both France and South Wales. Her practice is studio-based and process driven, working primarily with painting which sits between abstraction and figuration. The work explores fluidity in the context of memory, bicultural identity and language. She paints on a variety of surfaces and often makes her own paints, building a body of research on materiality and the tactile. The paintings have a strong focus on colour and use framing mechanisms and repetitive motifs derived from film scenes, personal memories and the built environment.

She was nominated for Abstract Critical Newcomer Awards in 2012, selected for Flowers Gallery’s Artist of the Day in 2013 and was shortlisted for the 2024 Waverton Art Prize. She has shown regularly in the UK and has also participated in several curatorial projects. She graduated with an MA in Painting at the Royal College of Art in 2018 and is an Associate Artist at Open School East in Margate 2023-24.