He Electrified Black Portraiture with Unflinching Views
Painter Barkley L. Hendricks, a star of modern-day portraiture, died yesterday morning. His work, lauded for its fearless and individualized representation of blackness, is considered seminal in the genre of contemporary portrait painting.
Born in Philadelphia in 1945 and studying at the Pennsylvania Academy of Art as well as Yale for his BFA and MFA, the artist moved throughout the Northeast during his life.
Within his immediate environs, he found his subjects. He most often painted friends, family and people in his community.
The representations vary from confrontational nudes to clothed figures showing off their style. Yet the swagger, however dressed or undressed, is contained.
Hendricks celebrated his models’ individuality and their personalities more than their fashion sense, no matter how notable that happened to be.
With a career stretching back into the 1960s and on into today, Hendricks championed the figure and found the art in his every day.
Jack Shainman Gallery has represented Hendricks since 2009.