Barbara Campbell Thomas & Isabelle Abbot: Influence + Conversation

12 July – 25 August 2024

Les Yeux du Monde is pleased to present Influence + Conversation, an exhibition of new work by Barbara Campbell Thomas and Isabelle Abbot. The exhibition will run from Friday, July 12th through Sunday, August 25th, with an opening reception taking place on Friday, July 12th from 5-7pm.

Longtime LYDM artist Isabelle Abbot studied with celebrated artist Barbara Campbell Thomas in her MFA program at UNC Greensboro. This exhibition showcases Campbell Thomas’s influence on Abbot’s artistic practice and the compelling dialogue between the work of these two accomplished artists.

Barbara Campbell Thomas is known for a unique studio practice grounded in and influenced by the creative practices of her matrilineal ancestors. Combining painting, sewing, and collage techniques, the artist creates intricately assembled works with richly-textured surfaces that convey movement and depth through an articulate vocabulary of material and form.

About this exhibition, the artist writes: “In thinking of my paintings conversing with Isabelle’s, and in planning the work I would make for the exhibition, I began contemplating my relationship to landscape. Like Isabelle, I live in the country, surrounded by fields, trees and the quiet of the natural world. Nearly every day, I walk the roads around my home, my steps traversing the open expanse of rural North Carolina. This countryside nurtures my being. As my body falls into the familiar rhythms of walking, I perceive my connection to a place where I am at home. Exterior spaciousness lays a pathway to interior spaciousness and I wonder, what spaces do I also traverse within? And how do I cultivate an interior landscape as resonant, generative and generous as the land comprising my home? The paintings in Influence + Conversation engage these questions.”

Isabelle Abbot’s work, grounded in direct observation of her surroundings in central Virginia, distills the essence of her environment into compelling oil on canvas compositions. Her paintings communicate the textures, colors, and atmosphere of specific moments in the landscape, inviting viewers to experience her connection to a place.

Abbot credits Barbara Campbell Thomas with a lasting impact on her studio practice, writing: “From Barbara, I learned the importance of taking visual notes. Of always observing and pulling from your surroundings to build a visual vocabulary, an alphabet of your own unique way of seeing and capturing the world. I remember that Barbara walked a lot on the country roads and through the fields around her home and would jot down things she noticed, accumulating marks and information to take back to the studio. In my work now, I see repeating lines, marks, and combinations of colors that have evolved directly from my own experience of my environment, my own deep noticing of the world around me. All I can bring to the table that is new and fresh in the dialogue of painting is myself, my unique way of seeing and translating that seeing into paint.”

Barbara Campbell Thomas is the Director of the School of Art at UNC Greensboro. She received her BFA from Pennsylvania State University, her MFA from the University of California at Berkeley, and has studied at the Yale Summer School of Art and Music. Her work has been featured in significant publications including Art Papers, Two Coats of Paint, and Burnaway,  and she has attended prestigious residencies including the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, the Elizabeth Murray Artist Residency in Granville, New York, and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts in Mount St. Angelo, Virginia. The artist’s work has been exhibited at noteworthy galleries and museums, including at the Weatherspoon Art Museum and the North Carolina Museum of Art.

Isabelle Abbot received her BFA in Studio Art from the University of Virginia in 2005 and her MFA in Painting from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro in 2011. In 2011, Abbot returned to Virginia to teach as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Virginia through 2013, and has been a visiting lecturer at Bridgewater College. She has attended esteemed residencies in the US and internationally, including the Crawford College of Art and Design in Cork, Ireland and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts in Mount St. Angelo, Virginia. Abbot’s work can be found in important collections both public and private.

Join us for an opening reception with Barbara Campbell Thomas and Isabelle Abbott at LYDM on Friday, July 12th from 5-7pm.  A luncheon and conversation with the artists will take place on Sunday, August 4th at 12:30pm and requires RSVP.  The gallery is located at 841 Wolf Trap Road, Charlottesville VA 22911 and is open Thursday through Sunday 1-5pm or by appointment.  For more information, visit, write, or call 434-882-2622.


Installation shots to come!