A fe­male-fo­cused por­trait se­ries

Toronto Life - - Culture -

ART Micka­lene Thomas: Femmes Noires Nov. 29 to March 24, AGO

Best known as the artist who painted the first of­fi­cial por­trait of Michelle Obama, Micka­lene Thomas chal­lenges how black women have been de­picted through­out his­tory. Her sub­jects range from celebri­ties to fam­ily mem­bers, and the ma­te­ri­als she uses are just as di­verse: a mix of rhine­stones, acrylic and enamel fus­ing into richly tex­tured, vi­brantly coloured col­lages that ex­plore fem­i­nin­ity, beauty and sex­u­al­ity. A col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Con­tem­po­rary Arts Cen­ter of New Or­leans, the AGO’s Femmes Noires is Thomas’s first large-scale solo ex­hi­bi­tion in Canada. The mul­ti­me­dia ret­ro­spec­tive high­lights her sig­na­ture col­lage work and the move­ments that in­spired it, in­clud­ing Im­pres­sion­ism, Dada and the Har­lem Re­nais­sance.

“Di­a­hann Car­roll #2,” 2018. Silkscreen ink and acrylic on acrylic mir­ror mounted on wood panel. Cour­tesy of the artist and Ga­lerie Nathalie Oba­dia, Paris/ Brus­sels.

“Le Dé­je­uner sur l’herbe: Les trois femmes noires,” 2010. Rhine­stones, acrylic and enamel on panel. The Rachel and Jean-Pierre Lehmann Col­lec­tion. Cour­tesy of Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong and Seoul.

“Por­trait of Kalena,” 2017. Acrylic and oil on wood panel. Col­lec­tion of Ur­sula M. Burns. Cour­tesy of Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong and Seoul.

“Los An­geli­tos Ne­gros,” 2016. Four HD video monitors: four two-chan­nel HD video, sound. Cour­tesy of the artist.

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