Mickalene Thomas’s chocolate-colored sisters with statuesque thighs, supple flesh, and meandering hair announce the promise of womanist agency. The space-age domestics or mother Africa soul searchers of her odalisque photos are draped over sofas and swathed in layers of contrasting “exotic” prints—a porn trope as much as it was a fact of ’70s interior design. Thomas’s bodies begin as substrata, canvases to a libidinal urge reminiscent of depictions of the Other in early photography and pornography (and, in turn, historical photographs’ mimicry of Western painting traditions).
source: BOMB - Kara Walker
Lehmann Maupin Artist Video Series - Mickalene Thomas