New York – Mickalene Thomas: “Origin of the Universe” at The Brooklyn Museum Through January 20th, 2013

October 3rd, 2012

Image: Mickalene Thomas – Din, une très belle négresse #2, 2012, Via Brooklyn Museum

Currently on view at The Brooklyn Museum is a selection of recent work by Mickalene Thomas.  Her first solo museum exhibition, Origin of the Universe, features a selection of the artist’s most recent works, examining imagery of the female form, African-American identity and her childhood in 1970’s New York City.

Image: Mickalene Thomas – Sleep: Deux Femmes Noires, 2012, Via Brooklyn Museum

Dynamic and arresting, Mickalene Thomas’s portraits bear a strength of expression that stops just short of deifying her subjects.  Other works, including her still lifes, landscapes and mural paintings, blur nostalgia and pride with an immediacy that demands the viewer’s attention.  Recalling a classical approach to still life, portraiture and the female nude, Thomas imbues her subjects with a vibrant palette and a warped perspective that fills each canvas with a tangible energy.  Playing with sharply contrasting colors and bright hues, her pieces intersperse elements of Impressionism and even, unexpectedly, Conceptualism and Minimalism.

Image: Mickalene Thomas – Interior: Green and White Couch, 2012, Via Brooklyn Museum

Thomas refocuses this historical awareness through the lens of her own personal experience, challenging the orthodoxies of historical artistic movements.  Her work has been noted as frequently bearing a stylistic similarity 1970’s “blaxploitation” films, further delving into the intersections of personal identity, cultural influence and artistic practice.

Image: Mickalene Thomas – Qusuquzah Standing Sideways, 2012, Via Brooklyn Museum

Featuring over 90 works, including paintings, photographs and a film dedicated to Thomas’s mother, Origin of the Universe serves as a striking and cohesive introduction into the work, inspiration and life of an impelling New York City artist.

Image: Mickalene Thomas – Landscape with Tree, 2012, Via Brooklyn Museum

The show runs until January 20th, 2013.

Image: Mickalene Thomas – Qusuquzah Une Tres Belle Negresse #2, 2011-2012, Via Brooklyn Museum

—D. Creahan

Artist’s website: [Mickalene Thomas]
Gallery Website: [Mickalene Thomas at Lehmann Maupin Gallery]
Museum website: [The Brooklyn Museum]