Michael Stevenson is pleased to present an installation of paintings by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye as part of the FOREX project series. This is the first time the London-based artist's works will be seen in this country, and will be followed by a solo show at the gallery in January 2010.
Yiadom-Boakye's work is richly informed by the romantic traditions in Western art history, in particular artists such as Goya and Manet who used light and dark to great effect to convey the presence of their subjects. She paints portraits of people who enter her imagination, starkly positioned against dark or indistinct backgrounds. Her fictitious characters, usually black, are prompted by photographs or paintings in which she sees a representation that resonates deeply within her. She describes her subjects:
Although they are not real, I think of them as people known to me. They are imbued with a power of their own. They have a resonance - something emphatic and otherworldly. I admire them for the strength of their moral fiber. If they are pathetic, they don't survive - if I feel sorry for someone, I get rid of them. I don't like to paint victims. You don't recognize them because they have no allegiance to anywhere. (Flow catalogue)
The work to be shown here, Pleased to Meet You, is an installation of 20 small, head-and-shoulders portraits in which the subjects all stare out at the viewer with sparkling eyes. Yiadom-Boakye is always conscious of the installation of her work and, while painting, gives thought to the relationships that develop between the sitters in the paintings, as is the case here. The installation has previously shown on the exhibition Living Together: Strategies for Co-habitation at the Centro Cultural Montehermoso Kulturunea, Vitoria-Gasteiz, and the Museo de Arte Contemporánea de Vigo in Spain.
Yiadom-Boakye was born in 1977 in London to Ghanaian parents; she completed her postgraduate studies at the Royal Academy Schools in 2003. Her most recent solo shows have taken place at Faye Fleming & Partner in Geneva (2007 and 2009). Group shows include the 7th Gwangju Biennial, Korea (2008); Flow at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2008); the 2nd Seville Biennial (2006-2007) and Bloomberg New Contemporaries at the Barbican, London (2004-2005).
For more information about the FOREX project series, click here.
The exhibition opens on Thursday 1 October, 6-8pm, coinciding with the Spring Art Tour. The gallery is open from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, and Saturday 10am to 1pm.
© 2009 Michael Stevenson. All rights reserved.