2. Rhinestones

In the Studio with Mickalene Thomas
Mar 27, 2013 5:56PM

“I started [using rhinestones] back when I was at graduate school at Yale University in 2001. Initially, I was working with them very directly, in a way where it located color—more like a paint-by-number system. I was investigating French Impressionism and particularly Pointillism. I was working through [Georges] Seurat on one side of the spectrum and Aboriginal art dot paintings on the other side of the spectrum. I wanted something non-traditional that still had a sort of Pointillism effect. I wasn’t really thinking about their relationship with the other materials that I work with, so I felt like they were more used as accoutrements, just another accessory to put on the painting. Since then, my practice has developed more. I’m really thinking of them more like another material. They’re as important as the oil and acrylic as all of the other mediums that I incorporate into my paintings. [The rhinestones] are no longer a separate element.”

“I’m really interested in the notion of beauty and how that relates to how we cultivate ourselves to the world. I think it goes back to our first existence of dealing with beauty: women went so far to wear certain corsets, or bonding their feet—different extremes. And so for me, that sense of artifice, I think, is very real.”

In the Studio with Mickalene Thomas
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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019