You Are My Sunshine, 2015
The work of Kenyan artist Wangechi Mutu combines elements of sci-fi and Afrocentricity as a means of reflecting and commenting on present day issues of people of color as well as re-examining past historical events. Mutu’s art is considered Afrofuturist because she often approaches her themes with a sci-fi like blueprint to contemplate alternate realities for Africa and people of African descent. She specifically depicts this with her morphing of the organic (human) and inorganic (machine) via collage on huge pieces of mylar. You can see this depicted strongly in her series Family Tree. The female form is often if not always central in her work. Her figurative pieces combine technology and organic ‘parts’ (human and animal) from tears found in porn, fashion, and auto magazines, along with random and non random materials. “Females carry the marks, language and nuances of their culture more than the male. Anything that is desired or despised is always placed on the female body.”
Interior: Zebra with Two Chairs and Funky Fur, 2014
Relief, intaglio, lithography, archival inkjet, collage, enamel paint, gold leaf, colored pencil
109.2 x 134.6 cm
Edition of 24
A classic constructed interior that draws inspiration from Matisse, Romare Bearden, Cubism and contemporary Pop references which has been constant influences in Thomas’s work. The artist explores the interplay of line, form, and material, punctuated by the impeccable use of color and textures. Brooklyn artist Mickalene Thomas is known for her elaborate, collage-inspired paintings, embellished with rhinestones, enamel, and colorful acrylics. Her depictions of African American women explore a spectrum of black female beauty and sexual identity while constructing images of femininity and power. Thomas’s production is informed by the classical genres of portraiture, landscape, still life, and the female nude. She combines careful borrowings from historical painting with contemporary popular culture, taking cues from such artists as Romare Bearden, Gustave Courbet, David Hockney, Édouard Manet, and Henri Matisse. In combining traditional genres with African American female subjects, Thomas makes a case for opening up the conventional parameters of art history and culture.