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Mickalene Thomas
American, 1971 -

Portrait of Qusuquzah #6, 2015
American Painting
Acrylic, enamel, oil and rhinestones on wood panel
48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 cm), without frame

Marion Stratton Gould Fund,  2015.1

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About the Object

New-York-based artist Mickalene Thomas is best known for her elaborate paintings composed of rhinestones, acrylic, and oil enamel. Her work introduces a complex vision of what it means to be a woman and expands common definitions of beauty.

Thomas's paintings are based on photographic portraits of models whose qualities allow her to articulate and explore questions of beauty, power, sexuality, and femininity.

"I tend to work with the same models. A lot of them are friends..So it's women I work with in proximity to and whose energy I enjoy, and they just have a certain charisma that I'm drawn to. Especially Qusuquzah. There's something about her. She brings something powerful to the image that amazes me through her gaze. I try to pull out those elements. I'm trying to hold onto the truth she brings in the photograph."

[Gallery label text, Forman Gallery, Summer 2015]