Durham Press is pleased to announce the completion of Mickalene Thomas’s Sleep: Deux Femmes Noires. The new edition is a large-scale mixed media collage, comprised of woodblock, silkscreen and photographic elements. It measures 38 ½ by 80 ½ inches and is made in an edition of 25.
Sleep: Deux Femmes Noires is based on a small collage that Thomas used to conceive both the print and a large painting (of same title) that featured prominently in her solo exhibition “Origin of the Universe”. The widely acclaimed traveling show, organized by the Santa Monica Art Museum, was at the Brooklyn Museum earlier this year. Sleep, both in title and subject, directly references Gustave Courbet’s erotic painting Le Sommeil from 1866, but transports the interior scene of reclining nudes to a disparate collaged landscape of bright color and pattern. The work hints at influences from the Hudson River Painters, Romare Bearden, David Hockney and Seydou Keita. Thomas deftly weaves themes of black female beauty, power, and sexuality into classical genres of portraiture and landscape, creating works of stunning originality and strength.
The print, Sleep: Deux Femmes Noires, is a remarkable work made with 61 colors, 58 screens, 27 individual blocks, and 50 different collage components, including mahogany and cherry veneers. Each component and process adds to the lush composition of color, texture and pattern. The figures included in the collage are printed from an interior scene Thomas composed and photographed at 20 x 24 Studio in New York using a large format camera. Many of the landscape photographs used in the print are from Thomas’s personal travel in Africa. This is Thomas’s second work at Durham Press. The first, Landscape Majestic, was produced using similar printing and collage techniques.
Mickalene Thomas has been working with Durham Press since 2010, and her prints are available directly through our gallery.