Interior: Two Chairs and Fireplace (Primary Title)
What’s so great is that Matisse looked at Manet. And Romare Bearden looked at Matisse and Manet. And I’m looking at all three; it’s a lineage. —Mickalene Thomas
Thomas explores traditional notions of femininity and beauty, as well as female empowerment, through paintings portraying provocative, glamorous African American women. She begins her three-part process by building sets redolent of 1970s domestic interiors, where she then poses and photographs her model. Finally, she paints the image on a much larger scale, incorporating materials such as glitter and sequins.
Thomas’s dialogue with art history is evident in this painting, which, unusually for her, presents a setting without the figure. The rich profusion of patterns plays on Henri Matisse’s paintings, while the illusion of torn and pasted fragments recalls Romare Bearden’s collages.
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