Kehinde Wiley’s works reference specific paintings by Titian and Tiepolo, but he incorporates a range of art historical and vernacular styles in his paintings, from the French Rococo to the contemporary urban street. Wiley collapses history and style into a uniquely contemporary vision. He describes his approach as “interrogating the notion of the master painter, at once critical and complicit.” He makes figurative paintings that “quote historical sources and position young black men within that field of ‘power.’” His “slightly heroic” figures, slightly larger than life size, are depicted in poses of power and spiritual awakening. He deliberately mixes images of power and spirituality, using them as a filter in the portrayal of masculinity. Kehinde Wiley’s exhibition Infinite Mobility recently appeared at the Brooklyn Museum in New York.
Down, an exhibition of new paintings by Kehinde Wiley, opens at Deitch Projects on November 1, 2008. This exhibition consists of four new large-scale paintings inspired by images of fallen warriors, saints, and classical mythology.