Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Getting "The Message!"

[Editor's Note: Here's an interesting take on portraiture that showed at the National Portrait Gallery. The exhibition "RECOGNIZE! Hip Hop and Contemporary Portraiture" ran February 8, 2008 to October 26, 2008. Kehinde Wiley was one of the artists in the exhibition.]

Artist's Statement: Kehinde Wiley

Kehinde Wiley’s portraits of African American men collate modern culture with the influence of Old Masters. Incorporating a range of vernaculars culled from art historical references, Wiley’s work melds a fluid concept of modern culture, ranging from French Rococo to today’s urban landscape. By collapsing history and style into a unique contemporary vision, Wiley interrogates the notion of master painter, “making it at once critical and complicit.” Vividly colorful and often adorned with ornate gilded frames, Wiley’s large-scale figurative paintings, which are illuminated with a barrage of baroque or rococo decorative patterns, posit young black men, fashioned in urban attire, within the field of power reminiscent of Renaissance artists such as Tiepolo and Titian.

[Visit the webpage here and here.]

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