Bawse. Sharp. Foine. Smart. Mahogany. Awkward. Classy. Regal. Erotic. Heard. Loud & Clear. Honey. Sho Nuff. Soft. Sexy. Hard. Foxy. Brown. These are Mickalene’s queens. Shoot, let’s keep it real, these are OUR Queens. Our mamas, our aunties, our sisters, our homegirls, our teachers, our grandmas. us. Crown high. Roots–deep & low. Bout it.
Brooklyn-based artist Mickalene Thomas is best known for her photographs and her elaborate paintings, which are usually composed of rhinestones, acrylic and enamel. Mickalene presents an unfiltered, nuanced and complicated vision of Black women, which challenges common definitions of beauty, sensuality and femininity. Her work stems from her long study of art history and the classical genres of portraiture, landscape, and still life.
Currently on view at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, Mickalene’s “Origin of the Universe” is an all-new suite of works that examine aspects of landscape painting. Of course “landscape” from Mickalene’s point of view is not your typical corn fields. Expect something more complicated, erotic and provocative.
And more recently, dream hampton made visible what surely ain’t too often seen on BET or MTV when she directed the video for Thee Satisfaction’s beautifully tight-grooved “Queens” using Mickalene’s work as her inspiration and muse.