Lehmann Maupin is delighted to debut Tête de Femme, a new body of work by artist Mickalene Thomas. In her fourth solo exhibition with the gallery, Thomas explores the intricacies of female beauty through painting and collage, focusing on how artifice serves both to mask and reveal the individual essence of her subjects. The artist will be present for an opening reception on Thursday, June 26 from 6 to 8PM.
Throughout much of her career, Thomas has drawn from art history with particular interest in classical portraiture, constructed interiors, and iconic representations of the female form. References to Édouard Manet, Henri Matisse, Romare Bearden and Gustave Courbet may be found throughout her oeuvre. In Tête de Femme (translated as “head of a woman”), Thomas looks to early 20th century Cubism and contemporary Pop references, fragmenting and reducing portraiture to its most formal and geometric elements to create larger-than-life portraits of her models.
While the artist’s earlier works focused on classical depictions of the female form, primarily using powerful black women as the subjects, Tête de Femme more boldly conceptualizes female faces from collaged geometric cutouts. She relies on these shapes in the absence of glamourized female bodies placed in the highly conceptualized environments of her previous work. The series demonstrates the artist’s interplay of line, form, and material, punctuated with an increased use of color. With an affinity for rhinestones and glitter, Thomas utilizes these materials in addition to introducing screen-printing to her practice, giving her paintings a new dimensionality.
In addition to her exhibition at Lehmann Maupin, Thomas will be exhibiting this year at George Eastman House, Rochester, NY from June 20 to October 19 and L’Ecole des Beaux Arts de Monaco, Monaco from July 4 to August 31. She has also been commissioned to create a special mural for the US Embassy in Dakar, Senegal.