My President's Orange but my Painting is still Blue

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  • Provenance

    The Artist

  • Video

    In the Studio with Alteronce Gumby

    “It’s hard for me to look at any color in the world and not think of the intentions behind it.” Meet Alteronce Gumby. We stopped by the artist’s Bronx studio and discussed the influences behind his cosmic world of color. His work is in our exhibition AMERICAN AFRICAN AMERICAN, on view at 450 Park Ave. until 8 Feb.

  • Catalogue Essay

    ALTERONCE GUMBY
    Born 1985, Harrisburg, PA
    Lives and works in New York, NY

    2016 MFA, Yale University, New Haven, CT
    2013 BFA, Hunter College, New York, NY

    Selected honors: the AAF/Seebacher Prize for Fine Arts (2005), the Dumfries House Residency (2015), Harriet Hale Woolley Scholarship (2016)

    Within just two years of completing his MFA at Yale University, Alteronce Gumby has made a name for himself as an emerging artist to watch. It is his approach to color that has garnered him attention, most notably when Gumby’s work was included in Color People, a group show curated by Rashid Johnson at the Rental Gallery in East Hampton, New York, in July 2017. Exploring the social radicality of color, the acclaimed exhibition positioned Gumby with a venerable lineage of artists including Sam Gilliam, Bob Thompson, Robert Colescott, and Mary Heilmann. As Johnson put forward: “The artists included are a wide range of painters whose works perform differently but with a shared radicality in their employment and understanding of color.”

    Gumby’s paintings draw the viewer into textured, layered color fields he has created using his fingers to spread paint and create color gradations. Inspired by his childhood fascination with jigsaw puzzles, he typically create tetraptych compositions as a way of, in the artist’s own words, “directing the mind’s eye to another space”. Gumby, whose practice includes paintings, ceramics, installation and performance, explores color as a compositional linkage between space, identity and ideas: “The intention of my tetraptych compositions is to present color as a shapeshifter. A transcendental object of shade, light and form. I want to arrange abstract paintings as both a medium of unity and a moment of individuality. Meditating beyond what I can see, in search of a more ambiguous horizon. Often I ask myself, “What does it mean to be an artist of color and make paintings about color?” There seems to be no rest for a person of color in America. The ability to recontextualize hue through abstract painting is the most emancipating act in my practice. I consider color to be more than just a hue, race, mood, shade, a mark, a line, a man, a woman, a country, a nation. It’s an amalgamation of experiences, signs, and signifiers that tell a story, my story, written and rewritten with each painting.”

    Painted in 2018, My president’s orange, but my painting is still blue evokes the changed political landscape in America since Gumby painted My president’s black but my painting’s blue in 2016, asserting the vitality and significance of abstract painting with its tongue-in-cheek title. As Gumby wrote in Bomb Magazine in October 2017, “I felt the need to create a safe space for myself, as a result of feeling insecure in the natural world. I have ambitions to see beyond my imagination in search of a more abstract horizon…There is always a space beyond what we can see. Through the process of painting I created spaces of light, hue and shape that offer me a place of freedom.”

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My President's Orange but my Painting is still Blue

signed, titled, inscribed and dated "Alteronce Gumby "My President's Orange but my Painting is still Blue" 2018 © BX/NYC" on the reverse
oil on panel
54 x 70 in. (137.2 x 177.8 cm.)
Executed in 2018.

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AMERICAN AFRICAN AMERICAN

New York Selling Exhibition 10 January - 8 February 2019