Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Kehinde Wiley @ Studio Museum Harlem

Oh, that Kehinde Wiley.

Not only is he technically flawless as a painter of portraits, but he's inventive, culturally conscious, timely, wields a diverse visual vocabulary, is widely acclaimed...AND he's only 31! The nerve. He's making the rest of us artists look bad! But I gotta hand it to the guy, I really respect what he does and I think his pieces have a lot of substance to them.

He's done this sort or portraiture in China previously, but for this show at the Studio Museum he moved to West Africa for his inspiration. He portrays his young black models in traditionally heroic poses in these large scale paintings. The colorful patterns interact with the figures beautifully, by reflecting in their skin tones or overlapping with the models themselves. This show made me all nostalgic for the bold colors and patterns of Ghana...and the beauty of the people who I got to know there. It all looked so familiar! Sigh...

This last piece here wasn't isn't in this particular show, but it's from a more famous series of his that you might find familiar...

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