Atelier

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  • Provenance

    The Artist and Harper's Books, East Hampton

  • Catalogue Essay

    MARCUS BRUTUS
    Lives and works outside of Washington, D.C.

    2013 BS, St. John’s University, Queens, NY

    Marcus Brutus’s paintings explore, in the artist’s words, “ideas of power through portraiture.” The self-taught painter received this first solo show after the artist Jennifer Guidi discovered and shared his work on Instagram, where it caught the attention of Harper’s Books in New York. Brutus’s first solo exhibition there in September 2018 debuted his series of figurative paintings that deftly examined Black American identity and civil right struggles.

    As Brutus explained in a Twilight Talks interview with Kevin Moore in September 2018, “My family is Haitian. So I’m from an immigrant family. So that’s just another layer to feeling as if you don’t really have much of identity here in America. So it’s connecting to an imagined identity, an identity from an imagined past...Feeling alienated, I think it helps me understand things holistically.” Brutus captures real and imagined characters in evocative scenes that are meant to confront the “internalization and reproduction of racist attitudes by racial minorities.”

    Brutus, who studied at the St. John’s University in Queens and previously worked in Public Relations, deftly applies his innate ability of storytelling to art. Drawing inspiration from diverse source materials culled from the realms of fashion, film, music, photography, art, and politics, he fluidly interweaves subtle and overt references to the past and present, the real and imagined to creates vignettes that seem to collapse discrete eras and context. “What I’m trying to do is establish a legacy,” Brutus explained, “I want to show these very contemporary issues, but show them as having some long past.” There is a palpable emotional intensity to Brutus’s painting, reinforced by his saturated use of color and dynamically askew lines. Paintings such as Atelier, 2018, offer subtle alternative narratives of black life in America.

52

Atelier

signed "M. Brutus '18" on the reverse
acrylic on canvas
36 x 36 in. (91.4 x 91.4 cm.)
Executed in 2018.

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AMERICAN AFRICAN AMERICAN

New York Selling Exhibition 10 January - 8 February 2019