Mickalene Thomas' works range from paintings of fractured interior spaces to thought-provoking riffs on famous works of art, yet her themes remain consistent.
In these pieces, we see black women and the spaces they inhabit, holding the power of Manet's "Olympia" mixed with a little "Foxy Brown" for good measure. There is strength in their gaze, indicating a deep interior, yet their appearances and accessories are crucial to their identities as well. How her women dress, what makeup they wear, even what patterns they stand before all contribute to how they are viewed.
In Thomas' first solo museum show at the from April 14 – August 19 she also focuses on the female body as "the origin of the universe." One of her pieces with the same title plays off of Gustave Courbet's painting, "Origin of the World," which is a close-up view of a woman's genitals. Thomas ups the ante from "world" to "universe", presenting a black woman's naked body instead of a white woman's. The realist piece is redone with Thomas' rhinestoned touch.
For the full story and to view a slideshow of Thomas' work, visit the Huffington Post.