Born in Camden, NJ, 1971
Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY
While exploring and challenging long-held notions of feminine beauty, Mickalene Thomas creates stupendously textured paintings through her sublime use of rhinestones, acrylic, and enamel. Sometimes she accompanies those painting with video installations that juxtapose Blaxploitation film imagery with that of classic Western European portraiture.
Thomas’s influences range from historical figures such as Henri Matisse and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres to contemporary artists such as Carrie Mae Weems and Kara Walker. She also looks to 1970s Blaxploitation films and music legends such as Eartha Kitt, Bessie Smith, Sharon Jones, and Billie Holiday also inform Thomas’s works. Her love of music is apparent in the 2010 solo exhibition, Put A Little Sugar in My Bowl, which showed at Susanne Vielmetter Projects in Los Angeles and at Lehmann Maupin Gallery in New York.