Friday, September 18, 2009

Deitch Project | Kehinde Wiley 'Black Light" Exhibition

As you can probably tell - today was gallery day. In a radius of about 10 blocks in the Lower East Side there are three incredible, on going exhibitions. Aside from the Keith Haring show I also stopped in at Clic Gallery to ponder the works of Sue Kwon's show 'Only In New York' and then took a gander at Kehinde Wiley's 'Black Light' exhibition at Deitch Project.

Kehinde Wiley was born in Los Angeles in 1977. He received a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1999 and a MFA from Yale in 2001. Shortly after his studies at Yale he became an Artist-in Resident at the Studio Museum in Harlem. The Los Angeles native and visual arts currently resides and works in New York City. This is Wiley's fourth solo photographic exhibition and one that I have been looking forward to for a few weeks now.

"Black Light is an exhibition of photographs that thrust the black male image, captured by the means of light manipulation and digital technology, into focus. This shuffle of Wiley's artistic process reveals an integral component of his studio practice rarely seen while remaining, uniquely, Kehinde Wiley portraiture." - Deitch Projects

Kehinde's work is visually infatuating (if that is a sentence). The amalgamation of 1950's pattern decor with a prominent, majestic, powerful, confident and almost heroic type black male figure creates a unique and unsettling harmony creating an over glorified juxtaposition. The styling of the figures is just as intriguing, commenting on the New York stylistic state through a combination of fitted caps and men's apparel and accessories. Each unique clothing ensemble makes reference to New York and hip-hop culture. Everything from Yankee fitteds, Bape jeans, aNYthing tees to Dee and Ricky belts. The portraits blur the boundaries of traditional works.

Aside from the styling and upon closer inspection the photographs illuminates Wiley's technically sound abilities. Each of the 17 photographs on display are composed in such a way that one cannot by pass the "intimate study of embattled psychologies whose adherents are at once flawed and majestic, canonized and misunderstood".

The show is definitely worth checking out, but you only have until next Saturday (September 26) to make your way down to Deitch Projects at 76 Grand St.