Mickalene Thomas was born in New Jersey and now works in Brooklyn, New York. She is a distinguished multidisciplinary visual artist best known for combining art historical, political, and pop-cultural references to create striking figurative and nonfigurative paintings. Thomas introduces complex notions of femininity and challenges common definitions of beauty and aesthetic representation. Her work stems from her long study of art history and classical genres of portraiture and landscape. Inspired by various sources that range from the nineteenth-century Hudson River School to Édouard Manet, Alice Neel, and Romare Bearden, she has created a true signature style and continues to explore notions of beauty from a contemporary perspective infused with influences of popular culture and pop art, redefining contemporary ideas of portraiture. In combining traditional genres with African American female subjects, Thomas makes a case for opening up the conventional parameters of art history and culture. Thomas’s layered process of fragmentation, in which she begins with a photographic portrait and moves to collage and then on to painting, is the result of discreet borrowings from our twenty-first-century language of mass culture. Strategically placed objects in her photographs come into sharper relief during the collage stage as deliberately exposed tape and abrupt lines between forms frame our perspective, focusing us on the distinct cultural languages that she puts on view. Thomas is represented by Lehmann Maupin in New York, Suzanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Galerie Nathalie Obadia in Paris, and Kavi Gupta Gallery in Chicago.