Lynette Yiadom-Boakye (b. 1977) is a rarity in the contemporary art world: an African figurative painter of predominantly black subjects. I was struck by her works at the 2013 Venice Biennale, and was delighted to hear she would be having a show at the Serpentine Gallery mostly taken from private collections.
Any Number of Preoccupations (2010)
She had a few solo shows before her current Serpentine exhibition but this was the first one I had seen. When viewing her works, I find myself observing the spaces she created between her characters’ arms and body – recalling the few drawing classes I took, paying attention to spaces in between objects in Cezanne’s still lifes – her muted, green/brownish backgrounds, and her long visible brushstrokes.
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye paints fictional subjects, leaving the viewer uncertain who they are observing, the place or even the time. She typically completes her works in a single day, to maintain neutral narratives and lends her paintings an indeterminate feel, according to the Serpentine Gallery.
Don’t miss her imaginative titles e.g. ‘Any Number of Preoccupations’ (2010), ‘Shoot the Desperate, Hug the Needy’ (2010), ‘A Passion Like No Other’ (2012). ‘Lynette Yiadom-Boakye: Verses After Dusk’ runs until 13 September 2015.
A Passion Like No Other (2012)