LA based artist Devin Troy Strother Is known for his darkly humorous racial narratives that often portraits stories of performers. Growing up as a black artist, it is often inevitable to not explore racial issues and its prominent role in American life throughout his study. Taking inspiration in elements as disparate as stand-up comedy, music lyrics, and contemporary politics, he chose to celebrate black culture in a naïve and elevated aesthetic for sensitive matters. Strother’s work acknowledges the foundation of "American Culture” in that of African-American performers and entertainers— from Jazz and the blues, to contemporary dance, sports, hip-hop and all types of performance. He uses the stereotypes of the black entertainer to regain control of the narrative which often fetishizes black people’s representation. His favorite artists include Rose Wylie and Helen Frankenthaler, Jacob Lawrence, etc.
For his exhibition at Over the Influence, Strother has looked back at the mythology surrounding the black athlete and, in particular, basketball. Through his exploration of basketball as a unifying American story, He exposes this aspect of contemporary culture, dismantling the stereotype of “natural black athleticism” by putting in players of all races, in settings that reflect both the inner cities and the bucolic suburbs. The series features legendary basketball players like Michael Jordan and LeBron James. Though visually simple, Strother does not shy away from uncomfortable topics and confronts his audience with some of the most pressing issues of our time through his tragic absurdities in a way that is more relatable to audiences who does not have a relationship into contemporary art,
What’s next? Strother is working on a publishing company for artists and creatives. An animation for Nickelodeon is also on the agenda.
Flagrant Foul by Devin Troy Strother
Date: May 23 - June 28, 2019
Venue: Over The Influence - 1/F, 159 Hollywood Road, Central