Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Barkley Hendricks

Post Soundtrack: Stevie Wonder, Creepin’

So, art is my thing. I love to paint and serve on a few boards and committees for arts organizations, the purpose of which is to promote and support the arts in my community.
My passion is making sure that people of color are included, and that our percentage of the audience at shows, performances and openings increases. If we aren’t present, we are silenced. And, when policy decisions are made concerning the arts, we’ll always be left in the cold and relegated to Black History Month and gospel plays. OK, maybe that’s a strong statement, but it’s how I feel.
I like to time to time post about artists whose work I really enjoy.
One of my favorite painters is Barkley Hendricks. I have always been fascinated by depictions of the everyday man or woman in paintings, and Hendricks is a master in this genre. I love his work because in his paintings you can see folks who remind you of lovers, family members, neighborhood thugs, and teachers; and, he is so technically gifted.

From Wikipedia, "While he has worked in a variety of media and genres throughout his career (from photography to landscape painting), Hendricks' best known work takes the form of life-sized painted oil portraits. In these portraits, he attempts to imbue a proud, dignified presence upon his subjects, most frequently urban people of color. Hendricks’ work has been noted as unique for its matrimony of both American realism and post-modernism."

You can also see that he influenced one of the most celebrated Black, gay, contemporary artists – Kehinde Wiley. Wiley recently discussed his sexuality and his painting in an interview with the Advocate.

Hendricks' work is so representative of the times in which he painted. His backgrounds are amazing, and play a supporting and informative role to the main subject. You can compare this to an artist like Wiley who now often uses brightly colored patterns as a foundation for his portraits.
I have included a couple of images of Hendricks' paintings, including his iconic self-portrait in a white kangol and tube socks – a favorite of mine.
What do you think?
Check out the travelling exhibit Barkley Hendricks: Birth of the Cool.


Maxine said...

Hi Jimmy,

Just wanted to post to say that I am really digging your blog. It's a fantastic idea and I hope to visit often. Glad I stumbled here through cyber-space,


Ray Avito said...

The reclining lady blowing the bubble is fantastic. And on a side note, I am DIGGING her shoes!!