THE INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART/BOSTON
happy birthday to a beautiful woman: a portrait of my mother
GALLERY TALK WITH MICKALENE THOMAS
As Thomas reorganizes the interior space surrounding the female figure, she draws inspiration from late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century artists such as Édouard Manet, Henri Matisse, Fernand Léger, and Romare Bearden—all of whom used abstraction, to one degree or another, in their representations of the world. Combining patterns and styles drawn from a 1970s aesthetic, Thomas’s compositions simultaneously recall the “black is beautiful” movement, as well as the second wave of feminism that shattered cultural assumptions about sexuality, family, the workplace, and reproductive rights. The works featured in this exhibition highlight the ways Thomas experiments with the construction of intimate interior spaces, to create a metaphor for the status of the female body—itself either present or absent—as it has been interpreted and used throughout the history of art.
Mickalene Thomas is generously sponsored by the Lehmann Maupin Gallery.
Read more about Mickalene Thomas in this artist interview by Shaquille Alberts, a member of the ICA Teen Arts Council.