Blog / A painter of fiction


By Wendy

In and out of the Armory show, here in New York, we are busy seeking out artists important to the Nasher Museum.
Their work stands out in what is otherwise an overwhelming week of art.
At the Studio Museum in Harlem, we took in Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s solo exhibition, “Any Number of Preoccupations” (on view for a few more days). She is a British artist of Ghanaian ancestry whose lush portrait, above, is part of the Nasher Museum’s upcoming show, “Building the Contemporary Collection: Five Years of Acquisitions.”
Standing in the gallery, surrounded by Lynette’s “people,” we were reminded of Barkley L. Hendricks’ solo show there (organized by the Nasher Museum in 2008). Indeed, The Financial Times made the comparison.
But unlike Barkley’s portraits from life, Lynette’s portraits are fictional characters. She works very quickly, according to Trevor Schoonmaker, our curator of contemporary art, and her brush strokes give the subjects movement.
We were rooted for a long time before the painting “Vespers,” a portrait of a young girl singing. She seems to float on the canvas–on a white bed or perhaps a cloud.
“Her hands and feet are so relaxed,” said my mother, who accompanied me on the trip. “Her heart is in her song. The whole painting is based on a song you can’t hear, but you can feel it.”

IMAGE: Lynett Yiadom-Boakye, “Tambourine,” 2010. Oil on canvas, 98 3/8 x 74 3/4 inches. Collection of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. Museum purchase with funds provided by Marjorie and Michael Levine, T’84.

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