Mickalene Thomas Debuts Interiors Edition at Fine Art Print Fair in New York

Interior: Blue Couch and Green Owl, Mickalene Thomas. Photography courtesy of the artist and Durham Press.

In 18 volumes and over 3,000 pages, the Practical Encyclopedia of Good Decorating and Home Improvement, published in 1971, presented domestic tips on construction, crafting, and interior design. Brooklyn-based artist Mickalene Thomas came across the set in a thrift store, and the full-color illustrations had a direct impact on her work, including a new edition of Durham Press prints, Interiors, debuting this week at the 2017 Fine Art Print Fair in New York.

Interior: Fireplace with Blackbird, Mickalene Thomas. Photography courtesy of the artist and Durham Press.

Thomas is best known for rhinestone-encrusted portraits reflecting on the representation of African-American women. The portraits, for which she sometimes uses friends and family members as models, often feature bold interior spaces.

Hand-cut collage components are ready to be placed onto prints. Photography courtesy of Durham Press.

For the Interiors prints, two photographs of living rooms were taken directly from the encyclopedia. The scenes have been transformed, with blocks of color and new textures transposed over the imagery. Multiple elements were added, such as wood veneer and gold leaf. Each print went through a series of processes, including screenprint, woodblock, etching, and digital printing. “The Interior prints include approximately 100 impressions, 65 colors, 15 screens, 4 woodblocks, as well as several collage components. They took over two years to proof and edition,” Durham Press director Gwyneth Fearnhead writes.

Collage elements are adhered to a print. Photography courtesy of Durham Press.

The 2017 Fine Art Print Fair runs from October 26-29 at the River Pavilion, Javits Center, in New York. Other editions debuting at the fair includes John Baldessari at Mixographía, Matt Saunders at Niels Borsch Gallery, and Swoon at Tandem Press. Carl Solway Gallery will present an exhibition of work by graphic designer Milton Glaser.

Flocking is applied to the carpet area of Blue Couch and Green Owl. Photography courtesy of Durham Press.
Digital components are hand-cut. Photography courtesy of Durham Press.
Print layers and components are mapped prior to proofing. Photography courtesy of Durham Press.

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