Kehinde Wiley (b. 1977 – ) is a contemporary artist based in New York that is currently cementing himself in the world of portrait painting. He is known for his often large-scale, realistic paintings of urban males around the globe. What’s captivating about Wiley’s work is that he takes old school conventions of representing individuals of power and applies them to young black men. This combination of the traditional and the contemporary challenge the perception of the black male that is common in today’s society. From his artist’s statement: “By applying the visual vocabulary and conventions of glorification, history, wealth and prestige to the subject matter drawn from the urban fabric, the subjects and stylistic references for his paintings are juxtaposed inversions of each other, forcing ambiguity and provocative perplexity to pervade his imagery.”
Wiley has participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions throughout the US and internationally. His next showing will be in ARCO Madrid in Spain from February 15 – 19.
**My thoughts: I can only wish to be this good! Kehinde is simply amazing, and I applaud his approach to this particular issue with black men. It seems so brave and striking, but handled in such an elegant way. I had the opportunity to meet him briefly a few months back and he was super sweet and humble. I also realized that he has a strong following here in DC so it was great to see the outpouring of support for him.
Source and photo credits: www.kehindewiley.com