Prizm News / November 1, 2018 / By Prizm News

‘There’s a thread of an extension of myself—a queer black woman—that exists in the work,’ she says.

 

By Prizm News

Mickalene Thomas says her identity is always a thread in her art.

“There’s a thread of an extension of myself—a queer black woman—that exists in the work. In some ways it’s executed very subtly. In some ways, it’s executed very provocatively.”

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The Brooklyn-based artist’s work is on display for the next two-plus months in separate exhibits at two Ohio museums:

• “I Can’t See You Without Me,” a collection of more than 50 works that includes her signature rhinestone-encrusted paintings and a new video installation, runs through Sunday, Dec. 30 at the Wexner Center for the Arts on the Ohio State University campus in Columbus.

• “Muse: Mickalene Thomas Photographs,” a collection of portraits, is being shown through Sunday, Jan. 13 at the Dayton Art Institute.

In each, according to Senior Curator Michael Goodson at the Wexner Center, Thomas “makes it look easy to live and love.”

Mickalene Thomas. (Photo ©Lyndsy Welgos)

Among Thomas’ muses in both exhibitions is her late mother, known as Mama Bush, whom she says was the kind of mom kids wanted to be around.

Thomas also portrays herself and her partner, Racquel, in paintings and photographs. “Je t’aime trois,” the video piece that’s premiering in Columbus, is the third installment of a series that focuses on the couple, their gazes, their bodies, their intimacy.

In the piece, she says she aims “to tell a story, to create a narrative, to take notions of beauty in the black body through the lens of the gaze.”

“There’s seldom that you see the positive messages of two black bodies together, especially two women, two queer women.”

FIND OUT MORE

Visit mickalenethomas.com to learn more about the artist and see more of her work.

Visit daytonartinstitute.org for hours and to learn more about Mickalene Thomas’ exhibition and a companion photography show, “tete-a-tete.”

Visit wexarts.org for hours and to learn more about Mickalene Thomas’ exhibition and companion events in Columbus.

Bob Vitale
Bob Vitale is the editor of Prizm. A Toledo native and graduate of Toledo Public Schools, he has worked as a local government and politics reporter for The Columbus Dispatch, as a Washington correspondent for Thomson Newspapers and as editor-in-chief for Outlook Ohio. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science from Ball State University and a master's degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield. Contact: BobVitale@prizmnews.com