Rhona Hoffman Gallery is pleased to present Kehinde Wiley’s third solo exhibition of new paintings at the gallery opening Friday, September 8, with a reception for the artist from 5 – 7:30 pm.
“Kehinde Wiley’s provocative portraits mine deeply rooted traditions of Western painting to address the ongoing cultural construction of identity. Upon the historic armature of sacred and secular themes provided by the Old Masters, Wiley configures an authoritative image of the urban black male that counters and complicates the standard version proffered in mainstream America. His resplendent portraits of the twenty-first-century heirs to the hip-hop nation, garbed in basketball jerseys, gold chains, and Nike trainers, provoke a reconsideration of racial and gender stereotypes, while deconstructing the very modes and means of representation.”
Wiley’s new body of work, "Scenic," is comprised of paintings inspired by nineteenth century French Scenic wallpaper and by German Renaissance painter Hans Holbein the Younger, (c. 1497 – 1543), whose most celebrated works Wiley observed at an exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Basel, on a recent trip to Switzerland. While the subjects of Wiley’s paintings assume the postures of those in Holbein’s portraits, the backdrops are replicates of French Scenic wallpaper, which was favored by the wealthy upper class in the 1800s. Depicting floral and fauna, this ornate wallpaper created a haven, a way to escape, a space distinct from a place of work.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Kehinde Wiley earned his MFA from Yale University, and holds a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. In the spring of 2001, he moved to New York to participate in the Artist-in-Residence program at the Studio Museum in Harlem. In 2007, Wiley will have a solo exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. Concurrent with this exhibition is a solo show at the Columbus Museum of Art, titled Columbus, September 8, 2006 – January 7, 2007.