5. SHINIQUE SMITH/MICKALENE THOMAS
Caren Golden Fine Art
Through May 12
These twinned solo debuts at the gallery showcase color, pattern, and feminine power. Thomas’s photographs and rhinestone-flecked paintings of sultry, Afro’d women combine nostalgia for seventies blaxploitation heroines with of-the-moment bling. They’re too slick, made with one eye on the market, but a wall of curiously unflattering serial portraits of Oprah and Condi shows Thomas moving in a new and promising direction. As for Smith’s bundles of gathered fabric and cast-off accessories, they resemble 3-D graffiti and lend an edge to Thomas’s polished divas, but they don’t add much to this tired genre of sculpture.