New York-based artist Mickalene Thomas is best known for her elaborate paintings composed of rhinestones, acrylic and enamel. Thomas introduces a complex vision of what it means to be a woman and expands common definitions of beauty. Her work stems from her long study of art history and the classical genres of portraiture, landscape, and still life.
Inspired by various sources that range from the 19th-century Hudson River School to Édouard Manet, Henri Matisse and Romare Bearden, she continues to explore notions of beauty from a contemporary perspective infused with the more recent influences of popular culture and pop art.
Thomas received her B.F.A. from Pratt Institute in 2000 and her M.F.A. in painting from Yale University in 2002. In 2002-2003, she participated in the Artist-in-Residence program at the Studio Museum in Harlem. Recent awards include the Rema Hort Mann Grant in 2007, Joan Mitchell Grant and the Pratt Institute Alumni Achievement Award in 2009. Residencies include the Versailles Foundation Munn Artists Program at Giverny, France in 2011. She is represented by several art galleries throughout the U.S., Lehmann Maupin in New York, Rhona Hoffman Gallery in Chicago and Susanne Vielmetter Projects in Los Angeles. She was commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art to create a new work for the façade of The Modern on 53rd Street for 2010. Her work is in many public collections including the Guggenheim Museum; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Brooklyn Museum; the Studio Museum in Harlem; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C.; Yale University Art Gallery; and the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has been featured in various catalogues and reviewed in ArtForum, Art in America, The New York Times, The New Yorker, NY Arts, Modern Painters, and Whitewall among others.
She is represented by Lehmann Maupin In New York, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles projects and Galerie Nathalie Obadia in Paris.