IN Los Angeles, New Perspectives on Portraiture
Opening next week at UTA Artist Space in Los Angeles, “Disembodiment” is a group exhibition curated by the Chicago-based gallerist Mariane Ibrahim featuring figurative works by six 20-something-year-old black male American artists: Jarvis Boyland, Jonathan Lyndon Chase, Jerrell Gibbs, Marcus Jahmal, Clotilde Jiménez and Vaughn Spann. Ibrahim’s lineup reflects an emerging generation of artists’ images of the self, centered not on race but personal experience: “I was really into the idea of blackness becoming invisible,” she says, “of looking only at the emotions and movement of the body.”
The artists take distinct approaches to figuration, making use of different materials and distorting the body to varying degrees of abstraction. They recontextualize its features according to a range of overlapping themes. The Mexico City-based Jiménez, 29, re-evaluates masculinity in his mixed-media collages, isolating bodybuilders’ muscles into discrete, exaggerated parts. Elsewhere, the Chicago-based Boyland, 24, explores themes of queerness while focusing on the finer nuances of color and texture: the reflective surfaces of certain fabrics as they fold and drape across the body, or the way that skin can refract light into various tones, producing more colors than initially meet the eye.
— JANELLE ZARA