Art I’m Loving: Mickalene Thomas

Today, everyone is going to be talking about the fashion from the Golden Globes. But I am talking about art, and the oh-so-talented Mickalene Thomas (have no fear, I will post my favorite looks from the award show tomorrow). The artist has been featured in multiple solo shows, including “How to Organize a Room Around A Striking Piece of Art” at Lehmann Maupin in New York, which closed on January 5th, “Origin of the Universe,” which was on view at the Santa Monica Museum of Art and is now at the Brooklyn Museum through the 20th, and an exhibition at the ICA Boston through April 7th.

As if helping to organize these solo shows wasn’t enough, the artist spent last year working on a mural commissioned for the new Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn (which you can read about in my post here) and incorporating actress Jessica Chastain into a work of art for W Magazine’s annual Art and Fashion Issue, on newsstands now.

Thomas is best known for her elaborate, collage-inspired paintings, embellished with rhinestones, enamel, and colorful acrylics. Her depictions of African American women explore a spectrum of black female beauty and sexual identity while constructing images of femininity and power. She often draws on images from art history, inspired by genres that range from the Hudson River School to Impressionism to contemporary popular culture. Her work is a glammed-up, multicolor retinal blast that is both shocking and smart. It is no wonder she is highly sought after by top museums and notable collectors alike. I look forward to watching her career blossom even more over the next decade.

Three Graces: Les Trois Femmes Noires, 2011; Rhinestones, acrylic and enamel on wood

Three Graces: Les Trois Femmes Noires, 2011; Rhinestones, acrylic, and enamel on wood

Din, Une Tres Belle Negresse 2, 2012; Rhinestones, acrylic, and oil on wood panel

Din, Une Tres Belle Negresse 2, 2012; Rhinestones, acrylic, and oil on wood panel

interior- Zebra with two chairs and funky fur, 2012

Interior: Zebra With Two Chairs And Funky Fur, 2012; Rhinestone, acrylic, oil, and enamel on wood panel

What's Love Got to Do With It? 2008; Mixed media installation at Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum

What’s Love Got to Do With It? 2008; Mixed media installation at Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum

Chastain in Thomas's Tamika, 2012

Jessica Chastain in Thomas’s Tamika, 2012 for W Magazine

images via MickaleneThomas.com, ICA Boston website, and Wmagazine.com

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