Landscape With Ocean, 2012Diane Solway

Perhaps best known for a proclivity toward glitter, rhinestones, and other blingy embellishments, Mickalene Thomas often paints portraits of friends and family recast in the nostalgic glamour of her seventies childhood. Along with her signature paintings, many new works will be on view when the New York artist’s first hometown solo museum show opens at the Brooklyn Museum September 28 (through January 20). Thomas’s “Interiors and Landscapes” series, depicting imaginary environments (at left, Landscape With Ocean, 2012), was inspired by her residency last year at Giverny, Claude Monet’s home and gardens, and is influenced by vintage books on modern décor as well as the artist’s interest in how we “decorate our spaces to make us feel like a particular character or person.” Another departure is Thomas’s debut film, about her longtime muse—her mother. “I started videotaping models while they sat for me and realized there is raw, idiosyncratic emotion you can’t necessarily capture in a static image,” she explains. “In the film, you hear my mother’s voice and the story of her life. I’m interested in portraiture that goes beyond a subject as merely a subject.”

Photo: courtesy of the Artist/Christopher Burke Studios