In this breathtaking exhibition, Thomas’s alchemical, history-laden work stands, in part, as a metaphor for trans embodiment and personal reconfiguration. In the front room, intricate assemblage-and-embroidery works hang on the walls, encircling two large freestanding sculptures inspired by a Gothic rose window that towered over the main courtyard of a public-housing complex on the South Side of Chicago, where the artist grew up. (He is now based in Los Angeles.) Made of weathered tin ceilings, stair spindles, and torched columns, the chimerical pair are at once architectural and creaturelike, with apertures that suggest Cyclopean eyes. The sculptures also incorporate drums, which Thomas, a trained percussionist, will play throughout the show’s run. The installation in the next room is just as powerful: more than a dozen miniature houses are suspended in space, at various heights. Sutured together from “bible skins” (salvaged leather book covers), these are delicate monuments to faith and resilience.
— Johanna Fateman