Published by Wexner Center for the Arts. Foreword by Sherri Geldin. Text by Nicole R. Fleetwood, Michael Goodson, Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Antwaun Sargent.
Presenting paintings of some of the artist's key models and muses, I Can't See You Without Me illuminates the work of Brooklyn painter Mickalene Thomas (born 1971). Culling from art history and popular culture, Thomas creates scintillating portraits that deconstruct the highly charged connections between sitter, artist and viewer. Whether depicted as classically composed 19th-century odalisques, Afro-adorned vixens of blaxploitation films or as a powerful maternal figure yearning for social mobility, the recurring models in Thomas' compositions (almost exclusively women of color) convey a spirit of strength and self-confidence. Across this archetypal array, it is both their contradictions and kinships that make the black female body such fertile terrain for the artist's ongoing investigations. By casting herself, her late mother and other formidable women in her life as models, muses and collaborators, Thomas particularizes her distinctive oeuvre of portraiture. Focused yet expansive, the catalog both reasserts and further contextualizes issues of identity, sexuality and agency in Thomas' work that have only become more nuanced and palpable over time.
Mickalene Thomas, known for her large-scale, multitextured and rhinestone-encrusted paintings of domestic interiors and portraits, identifies the photographic image as a defining touchstone for her practice. Thomas began to photograph herself and her mother as a student at Yale, studying under David Hilliard—a pivotal experience for her as an artist. This volume is the first to gather together her various approaches to photography, including portraits, collages, Polaroids and other processes. The work is a personal act of deconstruction and reappropriation. Working primarily in her studio, Thomas' portraits draw equally from memories of her mother, 1970s black-is-beautiful images of women such as supermodel Beverly Johnson and actress Vonetta McGee, Édouard Manet's odalisque figures and the mise-en-scène studio portraiture of James Van Der Zee and Malick Sidibé. The interior space of her studio, a reappearing character in many of her photographs and paintings, frequently takes on as much of a performative role as her models do. The space exudes a thick, cozy physicality from its layers of fur, rugs, wood paneling and multipatterned linoleum tiles—all of which are richly laden with sensory triggers of a 1970s American rumpus room. Born in Camden, New Jersey, in 1971, Mickalene Thomas earned her BFA in painting at Pratt Institute in 2000 and an MFA at the Yale University School of Art in 2002. Thomas participated in residencies at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, 2000–3, and at the Versailles Foundation Munn Artists Program, Giverny, France, 2011. Her work has been included in countless exhibitions worldwide, including at La Conservera, Ceutí, Spain (2009); National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC (2010); Hara Museum, Tokyo (2011); Santa Monica Museum of Art, California (2012); and Brooklyn Museum (2012–13). She is represented by Lehmann Maupin in New York, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Kavi Gupta in Chicago and Galerie Nathalie Obadia in Paris.
BOOK FORMAT Clth, 10 x 13 in. / 120 pgs / illustrated throughout.
PUBLISHING STATUS Pub Date 11/24/2015 No longer our product
DISTRIBUTION Contact Publisher
PRODUCT DETAILS ISBN 9781597113144TRADE List Price: $65.00 CDN $75.00
Published by Santa Monica Museum of Art. Edited by Lisa Melandri. Foreword by Elsa Longhauser, Arnold L. Lehman. Text by Sarah Lewis, Denise Murrell. Interview by Lisa Melandri.
Mickalene Thomas (born 1971) has won acclaim for her elaborate, colorful paintings of African-American women, often posed provocatively against rich, 1970s-themed backgrounds adorned with rhinestones, enamel and acrylics. Thomas draws from earlier traditions of portraiture to arrive at her contemporary sensibility. She engages with the tension between a personal investigation of eroticism, black femininity and beauty and a pop-cultural critique of the overt sexual imagery prevalent in the media--from Blaxploitation film heroines like Cleopatra Jones to the construction of middle-class, African-American taste in Ebony magazine. Her portraits of trans-generational female empowerment have been receiving attention far beyond the standard art-world venues and have been reproduced everywhere from The New Yorker to Bomb magazine. Thomas also reenvisions landscapes and interiors through playful and passionate recontextualizations of such artists as Romare Bearden, Édouard Manet, Henri Matisse and Balthus. Mickalene Thomas: The Origin of the Universe is the first monograph on the artist, and accompanies her first solo museum exhibition in the United States at the Santa Monica Museum of Art. It features a wide array of full-color reproductions of her work across media--much of it new and never before published--including photo collages and provocative landscapes, along with an interview with the artist and critical texts that elucidate her paintings’ investigations of femininity, sexuality and power, and provide extensive context for her oeuvre as a whole.
PUBLISHER Santa Monica Museum of Art
BOOK FORMAT Clth, 11 x 9.5 in. / 80 pgs / 30 color / 35 bw.
PUBLISHING STATUS Pub Date 6/30/2012 Out of print
DISTRIBUTION D.A.P. Exclusive Catalog: SPRING 2012 p. 77
PRODUCT DETAILS ISBN 9780983967200TRADE List Price: $39.95 CDN $50.00