Chicago

Mickalene Thomas

Rhona Hoffman Gallery

Mickalene Thomas’s exhibition “Girlfriends, Lovers, Still Lifes, and Landscapes” far exceeds the decorative wallop of her first solo show two years ago at the same venue. She has become masterful at maximizing ornamentation and slick in her fearless color combinations. Her paintings, which combine large fields of poured enamel, thin brushy passages of acrylic paint, and thousands of fastidiously applied glitzy rhinestones, brazenly bring the feminist-inspired politics of the Pattern and Decoration movement to genre painting.

Landscape with Woman Washing Her Feet (all works 2008), which measures nine feet by twelve feet, is the least convincing of the exhibition’s twenty-two works, attempting as it does atmospheric space while producing mere clumsy, flat horizons. The patches of blue sky and distant mountainous geography lack the artist’s obsessive bejeweling, relying instead on awkward

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