Mickalene Thomas

Artist lecture Thursday, March 30, 2017 7PM
Timken Lecture Hall, California College of the Arts, 1111 Eighth Street, San Francisco CA, 94107
Lovely Six Foota, 2007.

Free and open to the public
No RSVP – Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis

The work of New York-based artist Mickalene Thomas introduces a complex vision of what it means to be a woman and expands common definitions of beauty. Thomas’ work stems from her study of art history and classical genres of portraiture, landscape and still life. While known for her elaborate paintings in rhinestone, acrylic, and enamel, Thomas also creates photographs and collages. As part of her artistic process, she builds mock interiors, stages figurative tableaux for photographs and then often transforms the photographs into collages. Though she continues to use these works as resources for her paintings, Thomas has also begun to present these photographs as finished pieces. Inspired by sources ranging from the nineteenth century Hudson River School to Édouard Manet, Henri Matisse and Romare Bearden, Thomas explores notions of beauty from a contemporary perspective infused with influences of popular culture and Pop Art.

While working across multiple series, much of her photographic work functions as a personal act of deconstruction and reappropriation—both of images she has created herself and images she has singled out as influence. With each series, she grapples with and asserts new definitions of beauty and inspiration. The 2016 Aperture publication, Muse: Mickalene Thomas Photographs, is the first to gather together her various approaches to photography, including portraits, collages, Polaroids, and other processes. This collection of portraits and staged scenes reflects a very personal community of inspiration as well—a collection of muses that includes herself, her mother, and her friends and lovers, emphasizing the communal and social aspects of art-making and creativity that pervade her work.

Mickalene Thomas earned her BFA in painting at Pratt Institute and an MFA at the Yale University School of Art. She has participated in residencies at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York and Versailles Foundation Munn Artists Program, Giverny, France. Her work has been exhibited internationally and she has been awarded multiple prizes and grants, including the Brooklyn Museum Asher B. Durand Award (2012), Timerhi Award for Leadership in the Arts (2010), Joan Mitchell Grant and Pratt Institute Alumni Achievement Award (both 2009), and Rema Hort Mann Grant (2007).


Larry Sultan Visiting Artist Program

Pier 24 Photography is pleased to present the Larry Sultan Visiting Artist Program in collaboration with California College of the Arts and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Each year, the Larry Sultan Visiting Artist Program brings six photographers, writers, and curators to San Francisco to offer free and open lectures, and to work one-on-one with students at California College of the Arts.


Larry Sultan Photography Award


Awoiska van der Molen, #256-17, 2009

Awoiska van der Molen

Fall 2017 Residency
Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, CA

Click HERE for more information on the Larry Sultan Photography Award

The work of Awoiska van der Molen (b. 1972, Netherlands) develops from a desire to comprehend the core of the isolated world she photographs. In order to achieve the sense of solitude necessary to gain access to the stoic nature of the landscape, she spends long periods of time isolated in the natural environment. She takes time to experience the landscape and penetrates deep into the essence of the remote, hushed world created in her photographs. She immerses herself in the landscape, moves slowly, returns repeatedly and by doing so makes these unknown places her own. This gradual and solitary working process continues into the darkroom where her pictures are printed by hand—an intimate process—further imparting a unique stillness that emanates from her work.