Margaret Tomkins (1916-2002) was an influential presence in the Pacific Northwest throughout her life. She also occupied an important role as an American abstract expressionist painter. Tomkins was born in Los Angeles in 1916 and received her M.F.A. at the University of Southern California. She later became an Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Washington and married the painter and sculptor James FitzGerald.
Tomkins’ work reflected her environment, social concerns of the time and, her personal experiences both aboard and locally. Throughout her career she was interested in layering and patterns, whether created by organic forms as in her earliest works or by the abstract shapes she worked with from the 1950s on. Transformation and metamorphosis were were common themes, with forms shape-shifting across her canvases, twisting and intertwining with or obscuring each other.
Tomkins’ work has been included in important exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Seattle Art Museum, the Portland Art Museum, among others.