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Mickalene Thomas: Waiting on a Prime-Time Star

January 20, 2017 4:45 PM
Photos by Jeffery Johnston newwave@tulane.edu

Related content: Read about Mickalene Thomas and the exhibit Waiting on a Prime-Time Star.

The portrait, shown left, references French artist Ingres’ iconic La Grande Odalisque (1814), with one of Thomas’ muses recreating the original model’s languid pose. The collaged landscape, shown right, reflects Thomas’ study of Monet’s curated exterior spaces.
Thomas’ collages are both works in their own right and platforms for experimentation between photography and painting.
This diptych presents a video of the companion painting’s preparatory photo shoot. It takes its title from the impassioned rhetorical question attributed to African-American activist Sojourner Truth. Ain’t I A Woman (Keri), 2009,
This installation recreates the elaborate studio tableaux where Thomas photographs her sitters. She fabricates the sets herself, selecting the décor and even upholstering the furniture.
On loan from local collectors Walda and Sydney Besthoff, the work shown left “with Monet” was completed after Thomas’ residency at the French Impressionist’s home in Giverny, France. The photograph opposite presents a model amid one of Thomas’ tableau of bold colors and vibrant patterns.