Sheena Rose’s Playful Work of Black Athletes Defy Expectations – •

[Many thanks to Corrie Scott for bringing this item to our attention.] Taylor Michael opinions Sheena Rose’s present solo exhibition, “Highlight: Sheena Rose,” on view at De Buck Gallery (New York) till November 20, 2021. [Read original review and see more paintings from the series at Artsy.]

Sheena Rose’s work—whether or not drawing, portray, or combined media—could begin with the private, however her oeuvre has the flexibility to move viewers to a world of the artist’s personal imagining. Whereas her earlier works used self portraiture to discover African spirituality, the topic of the Afro-Caribbean artist’s present solo exhibition, “Highlight: Sheena Rose,” strays farther from her life.

On view on-line and in a non-public viewing room at De Buck Gallery in New York till November twentieth, Rose’s newest collection options Black athletes in archetypical poses. Identified with the power autoimmune illness lupus, Rose can’t dunk, dive, or dodge just like the athletes in her work, however that doesn’t cease the artist from pushing her thoughts to the locations her physique could also be unable to go. Via Rose’s use of shade, perspective, and crowd pleasing geometric designs, she highlights the potential for pleasure and humor in moments of stress and potential defeat.

The work obtain all this with the acrylics you would possibly discover at a major college—the one paint Barbados-based Rose might discover through the COVID-19 international pandemic. In earlier items, she used finely detailed linework combined with washes of watercolor paint to discover race, gender, sexuality, and heritage. Introspective and layered with which means, the figures in her drawings are sometimes grounded within the landscapes of Barbados. In Quidditative (2020) from Rose’s “Compendious” collection (2019–current), for instance, the central determine’s thoughts branches off in all instructions, reaching in direction of the cosmos. Whereas her new work isn’t as intricate in composition, Rose disarms viewers with approachable but inspiring items.

Match Level (2021) demonstrates this new route. Three girls strike an influence stance in entrance of a tennis court docket. Their afros are bigger than life, reaching far above avenue lamps and timber behind them. They’re not dressed for tennis; as a substitute, their rackets and tennis ball seem nearly like props in a photoshoot, and the athletes appear prepared for a disco-themed night time out. These girls could be something they wish to be, anyplace they wish to be, and in no matter garments they so select.

Even when Rose options well-known, somewhat than nameless, Black athletes—resembling former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson in Throw within the Towel (2021)—she brings a lighthearted high quality to generally tense scenes. Much like the themes that her self-portraits and cityscapes convey, Rose needs on a regular basis Black lives to really feel ample with chance. To attain this, she deliberately flattens perspective, as seen in Ace (2021). The portray reimagines a pivotal second when Naomi Osaka scored a vital level in her last match in opposition to Serena Williams within the 2018 U.S. Open. Right here, the tennis ball exists in the identical visible airplane as each Osaka and Williams, who maintain their rackets cocked to the left. It’s troublesome to inform the route the ball is headed; the purpose might go to both of those star gamers. This isn’t a second the place two distinctive Black girls are pitted in opposition to one another, however one the place they each could be celebrated for the drive and dedication they bring about to a sport they love.

Good comedy ought to use humor and lightness to create narratives and defy expectations. Rose’s work do exactly that. The work is a celebration of what Black folks can bodily obtain with their our bodies.

Learn unique evaluate and see extra work from the collection at https://www.artsy.internet/article/artsy-editorial-sheena-roses-playful-paintings-black-athletes-defy-expectations

[Shown above:  Sheena Rose, “Judge,” 2021, De Buck Gallery.]

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