Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s works show figures in various poses or choreographic movements, often combined with shadowy backgrounds and accents of color. As studies of gesture, color, and light, her paintings—dramatic feeling-scapes that reinterpret the history of nineteenth-century painting—convey moody atmospheres. Her rendition of dancing, reclining, or contemplating figures reveals a potent, technical ferocity.
An earlier work, Citrine by the Ounce (2014), conveys irreconcilable feelings, focusing squarely on a man’s face. His eyes are downcast—a character study in which the man’s grace and poise are accompanied by hesitation and introspection. An emotional tension, underscored by dark and light contrast, gives her images visual and emotional punctuation.
For the 10th Berlin Biennale, the artist presents a polyptych entitled A File For A Martyr To A Cause (2018) and a diptych entitled The Dearer Here (2018). The polyptych centers on the thoughtful gaze of four female figures, each with their arms crossed above the head; and the diptych is a portrait of two figures, wearing black, heads tilted and in their palms, with elbows resting on a sofa.