Lynette Yiadom-Boakye on Seducing the Viewer
Image rights: The Studio Museum in Harlem; gift of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York 2011.14.9
Their Own Harlems at The Studio Museum in Harlem, July 20, 2017–January 7, 2018. Their Own Harlems is organized by Connie H. Choi, Associate Curator, Permanent Collection.
Lauded painter Lynette Yiadom-Boakye assembles images from scrapbooks, drawings, and her imagination into lush compositions of human figures. The recipient of the Future Generation Art Prize and selected for the 55th Venice Biennale, she is equally focused on the history of painting, the material qualities of oil on canvas, and her particular subject matter. Working rapidly and intuitively, she often completes a composition in a day. The figures in her paintings are mostly black men and women, isolated against dark backgrounds. These fictional figures have elicited strong responses from viewers, as Yiadom-Boakye describes: “People are tempted to politicize the fact that I paint black figures, and the complexity of this is an essential part of the work. But my starting point is always the language of painting itself and how that relates to the subject matter.”
British, b. 1977, London, United Kingdom, based in London, United Kingdom