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Meet the artists in Mickalene Thomas's orbit
The artist Mickalene Thomas, top left, with the artists she included in her show, from left, Devin N. Morris, Zoë Charlton and Theresa Chromati at the Baltimore Museum of Art, Nov. 4, 2019. For her exhibition, Thomas pulled on her connections to the city to feature established and emerging artists. Andrew Mangum/The New York Times.

by Ted Loos



NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE ).- Some she has known for years, others she discovered recently. All the eight artists Mickalene Thomas chose to include in her new exhibition, “A Moment’s Pleasure,” at the Baltimore Museum of Art, emphasize her broad network of like-minded creators.

One commonality is that they are “playing between figuration and abstraction,” in the words of Carlyn Thomas, a curatorial assistant who worked on the show — a balance similar to Mickalene Thomas’ own art.

— Derrick Adams, 49, based in Brooklyn, New York, creates layered, collagelike works depicting African American lives in many media. He hopes to create a residency in Baltimore, saying, “The highest point of success is to help other artists.”

— Zoë Charlton, 46, who has five works on vellum in the show depicting African American figures, recently had one of her pieces acquired by the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.

— Theresa Chromati, 26, is recognized for powerful female forms that register swirling energy and emotion. She moved from Baltimore to Brooklyn; the show is a homecoming. “Mickalene realized this was a way to bring up the whole community and give Baltimore positive attention.”

— Alex Dukes, 25, is a Long Island, New York, native who attended the Maryland Institute College of Art. Known for her colorful personal narratives, she says the inclusion of “black American hair, like braids” in her works bolsters “representation and different perspectives” in museums.

— Dominiqua S. Eldridge, 26, is a digital artist in Suitland, Maryland. “I depict black beauty, black culture and black essence,” she said. “And I like to feature women.” The show includes embroideries based on digital work. Gaining traction in the art world is “difficult,” she said. “It’s about building connections. So this is a milestone.”

— Devin N. Morris, 33, based in Brooklyn, is from Baltimore. “There’s a lack of professional galleries and those willing to work with people like me — emerging artists,” he said. Since Christopher Bedford arrived as director, the Baltimore Museum of Art is, Morris said, “stepping up” to counter the “elitist” tone at city institutions.

— Clifford Owens, 48, a Baltimore native known for his mixed media work and provocative performances, lives in New York City. “It’s so amazing to be included in a museum I grew up going to,” he said.

— D’Metrius John Rice, 38, said the art community in Baltimore, where he lived before moving to Austin, Texas, hums because of “New York transplants, local creative talent and people coming back and forth from D.C.” He has four abstract paintings in the show.

© 2019 The New York Times Company










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