Thursday, August 20, 2009

♥ she wants to lead a glamorous life.

don't forget about me. (keri), 2009
she's come undone exhibition images found here.

a,e,i,o,u & sometimes y, 2008

mama bush: one of a kind two, 2009

for their 70th anniversary, glamour magazine
teamed up with the lehmann maupin gallery in new york
to present the glamour project,
which consisted of works from ten female artists,
who each work in a variety of different mediums
and come from very different backgrounds
and bid them to submit a piece of art which answers the question:

what role does glamour play for women in today's society?

one of the most innovative and provocative contributions
came from new york based artist,
whose artwork is like nothing you've ever seen.
consisting of large.scale rhinestone bejeweded acrylic portraits,
colorfully textured collages, sculputres,
photograph montages and videos,
all of mainly female models,
thomas' body of work boldly embraces
every aspect of feminine glamour:
the true beauty and the sensuality of it,
the theatricality and the realness,
and celebrates the empowerment that women may feel
when they fearlessly take hold of the
viewer's admiring gaze.

"i've always been interesting in masking, layering,
dressing up and beautifying yourself and what it meant
to the black woman," says mickalene.

lovely six foota, 2007

her work often requires a stage to be set beforehand
and tons of costume changes.
recalling the 1970's style interiors of her childhood,
complete with veneered wood walls, flower power prints, and kitschy lamps,
thomas arranges her models in powerful poses,
reminiscent of blaxploitation cinema bombshells:

for her oversized, elaborate paintings, thomas will take a photo,
collage it to her taste and then project it onto a large wood panel
where she will trace it in pencil, and then fill in with some serious acrylic paint,
and then lastly place each rhinestone and swarovski crystal individually to
shade and enhance her artwork to perfection.

bored with just plain old oil painting, mickalene
"feels like adding rhinestones in my paintings
are like that really glossy lipstick women wear.
it's just another level of masking
women and of dressing up."

an imitation of love portraits, 2007
images found here.

the works of mickalene thomas are alive with different textures, prints and patterns,
and are generally optimistic about the plight of female agency.
these women are not subjects of the all.powerful male gaze,
but masters over the gaze of anyone who dares to look upon them.
they are not living up to a standard of beauty that
magazines and media demand tell them they cannot meet,
they are curvacious and imperfect and
damn proud of it.
they are glamour in it's rawest form,
and that is something worth celebrating.

girlfriends and lovers, 2008.

tamika sur une chaise lounge, 2008

and because i am a visual person and cannot even imagine
what it would be like to walk into a room full of these fabulous portraits,
i thought i would include a video, which really helps
to gauge the size and sparkle of mickalene thomas' work.

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