Two series of silkscreen prints and wood assemblages made by Mildred Thompson (1936–2003) reflect a shift in the artist’s practice in the 1970s. At this time she began favoring abstraction over realism as a means of visualizing the complexity of experiences invisible to the naked eye, such as that of space, both physical and cosmological. The series of woodworks (as Thompson called them) are rectangular assemblages of abstract relief designs made from geometrically arranged pieces of found wood nailed onto a flat surface; they are reminiscent of floor plans or, as in the free-standing sculpture dating circa 1969–74, of abstractions of ancient monuments. A silkscreen print series from the early 1970s is similarly reminiscent of spatial plans, yet deeply abstracted into a linear pattern of primary colors.
Produced in the early to mid-1970s, the two series were begun during Thompson’s second séjour in Germany, when she lived and taught in Düren. The works were exhibited across Germany and later included in a 1977 solo exhibition at her alma mater, Howard University in Washington, D.C., upon her return to the United States.
—Nomaduma Rosa Masilela