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21 Jun 2017

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye: Under-Song For A Cipher

New Museum

Reviewed by Kyrin Hobson

The paintings of Lynette Yiadom-Boakye reveal a unique intelligence as their stories unfold. Figures respond to each other with eye, hand, or tilt of head, engaging the viewer in a dance of angles, shapes, and arcs. Negative spaces contrast languidly against distinct, almost flattened areas of color which punch forth with choreographed intent. The gallery is awash in murky color with the exception of these resplendent areas of red, white, green. The artist's choice of a muted oxblood for the walls casts the room into a darkened miasma, requiring the viewer to actively search each work.

Possibility is the currency of each scene. Viewed through an unfettered lens, her personages might exist in worlds not smothered by the entire history of Western portraiture or by the thorny issues of painting the black body in 2017. Could one then appreciate the energy of the brush work, the intensity of how each image is called forth from imagination, to be caught by a swift hand?

Exhibition Lynette Yiadom-Boakye: Under-Song For A Cipher link
Start date 03 May 2017
End date 03 Sep 2017
Presenter New Museum link
Venue 235 Bowery, New York City, NY, USA map
Image Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Repose III, 2017, oil on linen, 78 3/4 x 47 1/4 inches, courtesy of the artist, Corvi-Mora, London, and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

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