States Of Being

Essays And Documents

Apr 22 – May 22, 2010
513 West 20th Street New York, NY 10011

Press Release


Essays and Documents

April 22 - May 22, 2010
Opening reception for the artist, Thursday, April 22, 6 - 8 pm

Jack Shainman Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of Essays and Documents, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s first solo exhibition at the gallery and in New York. The exhibition features a series of portraits. Her subjects, mostly black, are bold, often confronting the viewer with a direct gaze.The manner of her painting is expressionistic with strong brush strokes that, along with her dark palette, evoke a theatrical mood. Her direct, centralized compositions emphasize the inner world and narrative of her subjects, leaving the simplified background setting to the viewer's imagination. Speaking of her subjects the artist says, “although they are not real I think of them as people known to me. They are imbued with a power of their own; they have a resonance – something emphatic and other-worldly. I admire them for the strength of their moral fiber. If they are pathetic, they don’t survive; if I feel sorry for someone, I get rid of them. I don’t like to paint victims.”

Viewers look at Yiadom-Boakye's paintings and the strange, sometimes surreal, scenarios within, in an attempt to construct relationships within their compositions.The paintings become essays and documents between her reality, history, and imagination.

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye (born 1977, London, UK) is an artist of Ghanaian descent based in London. Boakye attended Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, Falmouth College of Arts and the Royal Academy Schools. She has presented her work in many important exhibitions including “Living Together : Towards a Contemporary Concept of Community”, curated by Xabier Arakistain and Emma Dexter, Centro Cultural Montehermoso Kulturenea, Vittoria-Gasteiz, Spain ; travelled to MARCO, Museu de Arte Contemporanea, Vigo, Spain (2009) ; The 7th Gwangju Biennial, curated by Okwui Enwezor, Korea (2008) ; “Flow”, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2008) ; “The Unhomely: Phantom Scenes in Global Society”, 2nd International Biennal of Contemporary Art of Seville, curated by Okwui Enwezor, Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporareo Reale Ataronanas, Seville (2006-2007); “Bloomberg New Contemporaries”, Barbican, London (2004-2005); “Direkte Malerei”, Mannheimer Kunsthalle, Mannheim (2004). Her work is included in the new book ‘Contemporary African Art Since 1980’, ed. Okwui Enwezor.

Concurrent exhibition at the gallery:Carrie Mae Weems: Slow Fade to Black, April 22 – May 22, 2010.

Upcoming exhibitions at the gallery include Leslie Wayne: One Big Love and Jonathan Seliger: New Works, both opening May 27th, on view through July 16th, 2010.

Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm. For additional information and photographic material please contact the gallery at