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First Flight (Series of 10 Portrait etchings) 7. (2015)

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

hard-ground etching on Somerset Soft White Velvet, 300gsm

The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery, University of Leeds





Somerset Soft White Velvet




39 x 27 cm


Presented by the Contemporary Art Society, 2015/16

Ownership history:

Purchased from Twenty 2 Ltd, London by the Contemporary Art Society, 24 July 2015; presented to The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery, University Library, University of Leeds, 2015
With an unflinching painterly approach and distinctive portrayal of light, movement and depth, |Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s process is spontaneous, fast and deliberate. Her creations are stunning contemporary portraits created from ambiguous recollections, imaginings and memories that exist outside of time and space. Yiadom-Boakye has been much praised for her critical engagement with the history of figurative art. Despite the stark contrasts in her technique and content, she makes clear reference to traditions of European portraiture. This approach, of looking to the past yet creating something new, is also seen in her application of undefined memory and imagination to create subjects and personas. The artist often works in series and gives her works cryptic titles that provoke the viewer to construct their own narratives and meanings for each piece. First Flight (2015) is an edition of ten hardground etchings made to accompany her acclaimed exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery in the summer of 2015. The ten portraits each depict single, black, male figures wearing the ruffs of feathers that have become a familiar motif in her work. Each man appears in profile or three-quarter view and is of a slightly different generation; fascination arises from the differences in demeanour and expression, with each variously contemplative and amused.

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