Alice Thompson

Artist's Biography

Alice Thompson holds a BFA from Binghamton University (2004) and an MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (2006) with concentrations in drawing and printmaking. Immediately after graduating, Thompson was invited to create a cut paper installation in the front gallery windows of Moore College of Art for Philadelphia Sculptors’ annual "5 into 1" series. She has shown her work in numerous juried shows, including exhibitions at The UNO Art Gallery (University of Nebraska at Omaha), Little Berlin, Fleisher Art Memorial, The Philadelphia Sketch Club, The Plastic Club, and Second State Press. Her work has been supported through a residency at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and through scholarships from the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina and the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine. She was awarded Second State Press’s Fob Fellowship in Spring 2016. She is currently a member artist with SSP, The Center For Emerging Visual Artists (CFEVA), and InLiquid. Alice Thompson lives and works in Philadelphia.

Artist's Statement

In my current work, I explore the window as a surface for the application of site-specific art, and as a pictorial element. My depictions of architectural subjects, like windows surrounded by patterns of brick and mortar, are intentionally life size to create continuity with the surroundings and present the paper space to the viewer as an alternate reality. Windows are a borderland between public and private space, and modern architecture incorporates increasingly large expanses of glass as interior walls and exterior facades. I see this clear canvas as an opportunity to make images that incorporate reality into their negative space, and are inherently site specific. I am driven to observe and learn about my community and surroundings through the act of drawing.

Translating my drawings into large cut paper installations always involves a lot of experimentation and imagination. My first step in making site specific work is observing the natural sunlight in the morning, midday and evening, and documenting the surroundings that will potentially be framed or obscured by the cut paper design. I layer translucent paper and use backlighting to render images in subtle dark and light values. Passive sunlight can sufficiently illuminate works during the day. At night, the interior lights or the addition of a few spotlights turns the window into a large light box.Each layer is handcut and delicately glued together to create an illusion of depth. When mounted on a window, my cut paper images have a dual existence, because they can be viewed from the interior or exterior side of the window. I use digital photography to document changes in light, shadows and reflections during day and night, from multiple perspectives. This yields a secondary body of work in the form of digital photography and time-lapse video.

I began creating cut paper installations while attending the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts to earn my MFA in 2006. I rely on my refined observational drawing skills and my extensive knowledge of historical and contemporary printmaking methods to design the many layers of my cut paper designs. In both printmaking and cut paper, I often need to fully visualize the final product and reverse engineer it. Working in cut paper has influenced my printmaking and vice versa. I employ a printmaking method called pressure printing to turn cut paper designs into editionable prints using a letterpress. The paper cutouts that served as a matrix for a pressure print sometimes find their way into an installation.

Selected Exhibitions

OVERTURN, O.U.R. Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Printmaker Pop-Up Market, Arthur Ross Gallery, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Oh! You Pretty Things: A Bowie Inspired Art Show, Ruckus Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Alumni Fob Holder Exhibition, Second State Press, Philadelphia, PA

The Future of Art - Breaking the Mold, WeWork, Northern Liberties, Philadelphia, PA

Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts Residents Exhibition, UNO Art Gallery, Omaha, NE

Proofed, Second State Press, Philadelphia, PA

Quarter Sheet Challenge, Second State Press, Philadelphia, PA

Select Summer Prints, Second State Press, Philadelphia, PA

1st Annual Little Berlin Print Invitational Philagrafika 2010, Little Berlin, Philadelphia, PA

The End, Little Berlin, Philadelphia, PA

Members Exhibition, Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia, PA
Printmaking Award

Works on Paper 2009, Philadelphia Sketch Club, Philadelphia, PA
Honorable Mention

Art Matters Arts Show and Sale, Villanova Conference Center, Radnor, PA

An Exhibition of Contemporary & Traditional Works, Historic Strawberry Mansion, Philadelphia, PA

Black is the Color, The Plastic Club, Philadelphia, PA

5 into 1, Moore College of Art, Philadelphia, PA

Negotiating Tradition, MFA Thesis Exhibition, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA

The Art of the Flower, Philadelphia Sketch Club, Philadelphia, PA
First Prize

Art Endures: regional artists exploring end of life issues, Lakenau Hospital, Wynnewood, PA

Living with Art, Maine Line Art Center, Haverford, PA

BFA Exhibition, Rosefsky Art Gallery, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY

Professional Experience

Fine Art Print Design, Art of the Voice

Instructor, Second State Press, Philadelphia, PA
<Awards and Honors

Artist in Residence, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, Nebraska City, NE

2015 - 2016
Fob Fellowship/Holder, Second State Press, Philadelphia, PA

Studio Assistantship, Penland School of Crafts, Penland, NC
Worked with Master Printer Keiji Shinohara

Technical Assistant Grant, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Deer Isle, ME
Worked with artist Sas Colby

Abby Watkins Bernon Work-Study Scholarship, Penland School of Crafts, Penland, NC

Studio Assistantship, Penland School of Crafts, Penland, NC
worked with Master Printer Andrew Rubin

Full Scholarship Recipient, BuildaBridge Annual Institute for Arts and Transformation, Bryn Mawr College, PA

New York State Art Teachers Association (NYSATA) Scholarship Recipient


Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA),
Philadelphia, PA
MFA, Printmaking and Drawing

Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY
BFA, Printmaking Concentration, Music Minor
Magna Cum Laude, Highest Honors in Fine Art