Friday, March 26, 2010

Preserving Our Image: Artist Mickalene Thomas

Mickalene Thomas' "A Moments Pleasure"

Artist Mickalene Thomas is known for creating controversal works of art, which leaves me to wonder how are we going to embrace our own beauty if we're afraid to comfront it? Mickalene Thomas' artworks explores the notions of beauty particularly in relation to African American women with her photographs, collages, and paintings.

Her portraits are based on the long tradition of portraiture in western art history with the more recent  images of the 1960’s and 70’s and by her own mother, a former model who often models for Thomas. They address questions of artifice, femininity, strength, beauty and glamour as they apply to our individual psyche.

Her Newest Work "Le Déjeuner Sur l'herbe: Les Trois Femmes Noires"

Thomas presents three women (in the above piece) in an ornate setting, composed in a direct homage to Manet’s Le Déjeuner Sur L’herbe, 1863. The sitters exude intense confidence and sensuality amplified by Thomas’ patterned and collage treatment. The work originated as a photograph that Thomas staged in the MoMA Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden Party in the Garden. She then created a collage combining the photograph with other elements, then scanned and further altered it in Photoshop, creating a puzzle-piece effect that alludes to the process of its making.
"Can We Just Sit Down and Talk It Over?" 

Artist Mickalene Thomas

Mickalene Thomas is an American artist who was born in 1971, in Camden, New Jersey. She earned her MFA from Yale University in 2002 and currently lives and works in New York City.
(Photos:Courtesy of the artist, The Imagist and Lehmann Maupin Gallery)


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