Mickalene Thomas is best known for her large-scale collages that weave themes of Black female beauty, power, and sexuality into classical genres of portraiture and landscape. MOCA Jacksonville recently acquired her work Sleep: Deux Femmes Noires as part of its permanent collection. The mixed media collage is featured in the exhibition Contemporary Cartographies, which is on view through October 15.
Sleep: Deux Femmes Noires, is a remarkable work made with 61 colors, 58 screens, 27 individual blocks, and 50 different collage components, including mahogany and cherry veneers. Each component and process adds to the lush composition of color, texture, and pattern. The figures included in the collage are printed from an interior scene Thomas composed and photographed at 20 x 24 Studio in New York using a large format camera. Many of the landscape photographs used in the print are from Thomas's personal travel in Africa.
Mickalene Thomas was born and raised in New Jersey and lives and works in New York. One of the most influential artists today, her innovative practice has yielded instantly recognizable and widely celebrated aesthetic languages within contemporary visual culture. Not only do her masterful mixed-media paintings, photographs, films and installations command space, they occupy eloquently while dissecting the intersecting complexities of black and female identity within the Western canon. Outside of her core practice, Thomas is a Tony Awards nominated co-producer, curator, educator and mentor to many emerging artists. While embarking on her own monumental solo shows, she simultaneously curates exhibitions at galleries and museums. Thomas's work has become an undeniable force within the contemporary art world and an indispensable inspiration to younger generations of artists.