Kehinde Wiley: Colorful Realm

January 23, 2023

April 8, 2023

11:00 am To 6:00 pm

Roberts Projects, 442 South La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036

https://www.robertsprojectsla.com/exhibitions/kehinde-wiley6

Free

Event Description

Roberts Projects is delighted to announce Colorful Realm, an exhibition of new work from renowned contemporary artist Kehinde Wiley. Drawing inspiration from Japanese nature paintings of the Edo period (c.1600–1868), Wiley parallels traditional techniques and materials in nine monumental paintings. Exposed linen highlights the depicted natural scenes while also preserving the delicate balance of the untouched picture space. Per the artist, “So much of my work is about appearance and showing up and being visible, and this dance between exploring the vastness of space within the minimality of this technique I find to be an interesting juxtaposition.”

Wiley broadens the political context of the divine subject, as admired by an Edo audience, by exploring painting’s role in communicating power, ritual, and performativity, and how this dialogue can shift historical memory by both incorporating and monumentalizing Black and brown men and women in art historical spaces not accustomed to their presence.

In this new work, Wiley references famed Edo-period artists such as Kitagawa Utamaro, Kiyohara Yukinobu, and Utagawa Kunisada in his use of negative space in compositions that significantly advance his distinct visual lexicon. In the absence of something besides a single subject, the functional emptiness highlights the oneness of nature and the expansive scale of the natural world. The impact of these ideas echoes throughout. The focal point of each painting is the story itself, one that extends beyond a path that blends into the horizon, and the understanding of the narrative as a whole. Similarly, Itō Jakuchū’s renowned Images of the Colorful Realm of Living Beings (c. 1757-1766), from which this exhibition takes its title, embodies how nature scenery is depicted and symbolized in Japanese art.

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