Surface play

rewriting black interiorities through camouflage and abstraction in Mickalene Thomas's oeuvre

Sarah Stefana Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This essay examines the use of camouflage, artifice, and abstraction–as strategies of surface-play–by Mickalene Thomas, a contemporary painter. Many scholars have focused on Thomas's use of painting materials (e.g. enamel, rhinestones, glitter) that locate her work within discourses of consumer culture and beauty in hip-hop aesthetics. While providing a different orientation to the look through the black queer gaze, the author argues that Thomas's method (e.g. photography, collage-painting, installation) and use of materials signify the surface of her work as a corporeal topography of black interiorities. Camouflage, artifice, and abstraction reveal interiorities hidden in plain sight. The first part of this article examines camouflage and artifice as porous surface-play, while the second part turns to a discussion of abstraction in Thomas's work as a method that pushes the boundaries of representation and abstractionism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-64
Number of pages19
JournalWomen and Performance
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2 2018

Fingerprint

abstraction
hip hop
painter
beauty
photography
aesthetics
geography
discourse
Camouflage
Artifice
Interiority

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts

Cite this

@article{86149efbdcf74e4b92a3fa684874ac06,
title = "Surface play: rewriting black interiorities through camouflage and abstraction in Mickalene Thomas's oeuvre",
abstract = "This essay examines the use of camouflage, artifice, and abstraction–as strategies of surface-play–by Mickalene Thomas, a contemporary painter. Many scholars have focused on Thomas's use of painting materials (e.g. enamel, rhinestones, glitter) that locate her work within discourses of consumer culture and beauty in hip-hop aesthetics. While providing a different orientation to the look through the black queer gaze, the author argues that Thomas's method (e.g. photography, collage-painting, installation) and use of materials signify the surface of her work as a corporeal topography of black interiorities. Camouflage, artifice, and abstraction reveal interiorities hidden in plain sight. The first part of this article examines camouflage and artifice as porous surface-play, while the second part turns to a discussion of abstraction in Thomas's work as a method that pushes the boundaries of representation and abstractionism.",
author = "Smith, {Sarah Stefana}",
year = "2018",
month = "1",
day = "2",
doi = "10.1080/0740770X.2018.1426201",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "28",
pages = "46--64",
journal = "Women & Performance",
issn = "0740-770X",
publisher = "Taylor and Francis Ltd.",
number = "1",

}

Surface play : rewriting black interiorities through camouflage and abstraction in Mickalene Thomas's oeuvre. / Smith, Sarah Stefana.

In: Women and Performance, Vol. 28, No. 1, 02.01.2018, p. 46-64.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Surface play

T2 - rewriting black interiorities through camouflage and abstraction in Mickalene Thomas's oeuvre

AU - Smith, Sarah Stefana

PY - 2018/1/2

Y1 - 2018/1/2

N2 - This essay examines the use of camouflage, artifice, and abstraction–as strategies of surface-play–by Mickalene Thomas, a contemporary painter. Many scholars have focused on Thomas's use of painting materials (e.g. enamel, rhinestones, glitter) that locate her work within discourses of consumer culture and beauty in hip-hop aesthetics. While providing a different orientation to the look through the black queer gaze, the author argues that Thomas's method (e.g. photography, collage-painting, installation) and use of materials signify the surface of her work as a corporeal topography of black interiorities. Camouflage, artifice, and abstraction reveal interiorities hidden in plain sight. The first part of this article examines camouflage and artifice as porous surface-play, while the second part turns to a discussion of abstraction in Thomas's work as a method that pushes the boundaries of representation and abstractionism.

AB - This essay examines the use of camouflage, artifice, and abstraction–as strategies of surface-play–by Mickalene Thomas, a contemporary painter. Many scholars have focused on Thomas's use of painting materials (e.g. enamel, rhinestones, glitter) that locate her work within discourses of consumer culture and beauty in hip-hop aesthetics. While providing a different orientation to the look through the black queer gaze, the author argues that Thomas's method (e.g. photography, collage-painting, installation) and use of materials signify the surface of her work as a corporeal topography of black interiorities. Camouflage, artifice, and abstraction reveal interiorities hidden in plain sight. The first part of this article examines camouflage and artifice as porous surface-play, while the second part turns to a discussion of abstraction in Thomas's work as a method that pushes the boundaries of representation and abstractionism.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85042212162&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85042212162&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1080/0740770X.2018.1426201

DO - 10.1080/0740770X.2018.1426201

M3 - Article

VL - 28

SP - 46

EP - 64

JO - Women & Performance

JF - Women & Performance

SN - 0740-770X

IS - 1

ER -