The work of art that I selected in the San Jose Museum for this assignment was the ‘Portrait of Qusuquzah’ by American artist Mickalene Thomas. She completed the portrait in 2011. She made the painting utilizing acrylic, rhinestones, and enamel on a wooden panel. The artist has made many other complex portraits using the same materials. She was exposed to art early in her life after her mother enrolled her and her brother to an after-school program at Newark Museum in New Jersey; she was born and raised in New Jersey. A lot of her ideologies and intended contents of the art she makes derive from her early life in New Jersey, the image of her mother, her femininity, and her life as an African-American girl and later woman in the twentieth century. Classically, Thomas would be a postmodern artist; however, her style largely evokes memories of classical art.
The ‘Portrait of Qusuquzah’ ranks as one of Thomas’s most famous works of art. The character of Qusuquzah reappears in Thomas’s work. In the image of discussion, Qusuquzah is a young to middle age woman with great beauty. The woman has a concentrated dark complexion that is perfectly brought out by the acrylic paint. The artist uses rhinestones and enamel to give the lady heavy jewelry. The jewelry brings out the depth of the woman’s beauty and adds to her confident look. The artist utilizes a wooden background that not only adds to the beauty of the art but also evokes memories of the 1970s living room panels. The wooden background makes the illusion of a wall against which Qusuquzah is standing.

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The artist utilizes the basic principles of design perfectly to enhance the beauty and the content of the portrait. Looking at the portrait, balance and alignment is the most evident principle of design. The image of Qusuquzah occupies the central part and much of the space on the portrait hence effectively making it the primary focus of the portrait. The artist intentionally minimizes white space around on the portrait to turn the focus and the observer’s gaze to the woman. The portrait also has perfect contrast. The artist primarily uses color as the source of contrast; the contrast aids in the exemplification of the main parts of the woman and to bring out the exact contours of her beautiful face and ornaments. Color contrast also helps the artist to achieve emphasis; the artist is emphasizing the subject’s love for modern beauty products with the sharp color contrast of make-up around the subject’s eyes.

Utilizing these principles of design and various formal elements of art like line, color, shape, contrast, and balance, Thomas is communicating a powerful message. She uses the portrait to reveal the growth in the confidence and prowess of the black woman. She represents a black woman who is proud of her dark complexion and utilizes it to create unrivaled beauty. The woman uses her dark hair and ornaments from natural materials to look just as beautiful as any white woman of the mid-twentieth-century. The woman is also able to afford beauty products and use them. Thomas uses the portrait to reveal the depth of the African-American culture and the wealth that lied therein; she also uses the portrait to claim the position of the black woman in the American society of twentieth-century America.

In my opinion, the ‘Portrait of Qusuquzah’ is a highly successful art. The art represents a beautiful and confident black woman. Considering the historical and social background of the artist, the painting embodies her main thematic concerns. The beauty and the confidence of the black woman that the portrait presents is not only a reminder of the beauty of all races and racial equality but also a claim for the position of the black woman in the American society of the time.The work of art that I selected in the San Jose Museum for this assignment was the ‘Portrait of Qusuquzah’ by American artist Mickalene Thomas. She completed the portrait in 2011. She made the painting utilizing acrylic, rhinestones, and enamel on a wooden panel. The artist has made many other complex portraits using the same materials. She was exposed to art early in her life after her mother enrolled her and her brother to an after-school program at Newark Museum in New Jersey; she was born and raised in New Jersey. A lot of her ideologies and intended contents of the art she makes derive from her early life in New Jersey, the image of her mother, her femininity, and her life as an African-American girl and later woman in the twentieth century. Classically, Thomas would be a postmodern artist; however, her style largely evokes memories of classical art.

The ‘Portrait of Qusuquzah’ ranks as one of Thomas’s most famous works of art. The character of Qusuquzah reappears in Thomas’s work. In the image of discussion, Qusuquzah is a young to middle age woman with great beauty. The woman has a concentrated dark complexion that is perfectly brought out by the acrylic paint. The artist uses rhinestones and enamel to give the lady heavy jewelry. The jewelry brings out the depth of the woman’s beauty and adds to her confident look. The artist utilizes a wooden background that not only adds to the beauty of the art but also evokes memories of the 1970s living room panels. The wooden background makes the illusion of a wall against which Qusuquzah is standing.

The artist utilizes the basic principles of design perfectly to enhance the beauty and the content of the portrait. Looking at the portrait, balance and alignment is the most evident principle of design. The image of Qusuquzah occupies the central part and much of the space on the portrait hence effectively making it the primary focus of the portrait. The artist intentionally minimizes white space around on the portrait to turn the focus and the observer’s gaze to the woman. The portrait also has perfect contrast. The artist primarily uses color as the source of contrast; the contrast aids in the exemplification of the main parts of the woman and to bring out the exact contours of her beautiful face and ornaments. Color contrast also helps the artist to achieve emphasis; the artist is emphasizing the subject’s love for modern beauty products with the sharp color contrast of make-up around the subject’s eyes.

Utilizing these principles of design and various formal elements of art like line, color, shape, contrast, and balance, Thomas is communicating a powerful message. She uses the portrait to reveal the growth in the confidence and prowess of the black woman. She represents a black woman who is proud of her dark complexion and utilizes it to create unrivaled beauty. The woman uses her dark hair and ornaments from natural materials to look just as beautiful as any white woman of the mid-twentieth-century. The woman is also able to afford beauty products and use them. Thomas uses the portrait to reveal the depth of the African-American culture and the wealth that lied therein; she also uses the portrait to claim the position of the black woman in the American society of twentieth-century America.

In my opinion, the ‘Portrait of Qusuquzah’ is a highly successful art. The art represents a beautiful and confident black woman. Considering the historical and social background of the artist, the painting embodies her main thematic concerns. The beauty and the confidence of the black woman that the portrait presents is not only a reminder of the beauty of all races and racial equality but also a claim for the position of the black woman in the American society of the time.