Kirsty Thomas is an Artist living and working in Brighton,England. Receiving an M.A. in Photography from the University of Brighton in 2015, she now works at the university as a Technical Demonstrator in the Photography department. She specialises in analogue techniques, specifically black and white fibre-based printing. The process of making the image by hand at every stage of production is central to her work.
She uses her practice to examine the feminine relationship with looking, as the authorship of looking has been historically masculine. Reflecting on the often patriarchal systems that govern not only the art world, but the visual world, she is re-looking at the traditionally feminine and domestic based practices, ‘crafts’, often associated with women.
Her work is influenced by the history of flower painting,questions of domesticity, and the social construction of femininity.. Flower painting began as a sphere of high accomplishment, usually painted by male artists for high regard and high prices. This soon changed when the genre became a predominantly female practice; it then became regarded as a petty, genteel female accomplishment. Domesticity is a realm of experience set apart from that which is public, yet intimately connected to it, and one historically coded as female. This work embraces the complex relationship between femininity and domestic space whilst revealing it to be constrictive and imprisoning, characterised by obsession and menace.
The artist carefully constructs still life scenes in her home: flowers and foliage are draped, sewn, tied, bound and suspended into position before the camera. This controlled method is integral to the resultant pictures, with the artist dominating the domestic environment, using a large format plate camera to capture the fabricated scenes. Each stage of the photographic process is undertaken by the artist: the sheet film is developed by hand, and the final pictures are hand-printed in the darkroom.