When I first started working on this post I was torn with indecision on where to start! Mickalene Thomas is such a prolific artist. Her work includes collage, sculpture, paintings, drawings, films, and installations that explore themes of femininity and identity in both the art world and the culture at large. What I admire most about her work is the depth of layering that occurs within the image. Not only is she a master at mixing patterns, colors, and materials, but there are layers of meaning as well. I find myself looking at her work over and over, not only because of her use of color and texture (hello, rhinestones!), but also because, By seamlessly mixing references to the female form in art history (Manet, Matisse, Courbet), alongside elements of pop culture and mass media (fashion magazines, blaxploitation films, Diana Ross), she challenges our definitions of beauty and what it means to see and be seen.
I'm so happy a voice like Mickalene's exists in the art world! You can see her work in person at museums across the country, including the Detroit Institute of the Arts, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Art Institute of Chicago, among many, many others.
If you haven’t seen Mickalene's work before, please stop everything and go check out her website and Instagram feed now. You’ll be glad you did. Scroll down to see her inspirations. Thanks, Mickalene! ~Erin
"Give Me One Reason" by Tracey Chapman
No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America by Darnell L. Moore
Film: Get Out
TV Show: Marcella