Blk & Blue explores the topic of mental illness in communities of color. Roberts’ work often spotlight contemporary social issues: by breaking down formal elements in his paintings, the artist creates compositions, which convey the complexities and tensions typically masked by his subjects’ physical appearance. Inspired by Picasso’s Blue Period, for this exhibition, Roberts represents the everyday misfortunes of the oppressed in a palette primarily composed of blues and grays. Like Picasso’s somber depictions of middle-class Spaniards upended by the Industrial Revolution, in this exhibition, Roberts ennobles his subjects while shining light on the societal conditions responsible for their hardship. In so doing, the artist presents a new, American iconography for a country ever-defined by color.
ABOUT MALIK ROBERTS
Malik Roberts (b. 1990, Brooklyn, NY) is a Brooklyn based painter and multimedia artist creating deconstructed portraits with controversial contemporary subjects, which explore the relationship between visual culture and reality today. In the tradition of artists like Magritte and Richard Prince, Roberts often works with images and conventions recognizable from the media, reframing his appropriated source material to reveal the absurdity of every day life. While his visual language combines influences of modern and pop art, the artist’s sophisticated compositions provoke engagement rather than astonishment, inviting the viewer to consider the impact of visual media on the consumption of ideas in the Digital Age.
ABOUT ABXY LES
Inspired by the salon-style galleries of history’s great female art collectors – women like Peggy Guggenheim and Gertrude Stein – ABXY formed in 2015 when streetwise art advisor, Allison Barker, invited a carefully curated group of emerging artists to use her SoHo home-office as studio space.
As the walls of Barker’s loft filled with their paintings, the space filled with friends – friends of the artists: a new generation of creators, curators, and thought leaders – and friends of the hostess: a new generation of entrepreneurs, patrons, and art collectors.
ABXY quickly became a haven for collectors and artists of all fields, backgrounds, and experience levels to discover one another. And under Barker’s visionary direction, casual gatherings soon formalized into a cutting edge schedule of programming and events.
In 2017, ABXY opened an art gallery to the public for the first time. From their new, Clinton Street headquarters, Barker continues to provide studio space for her artists beneath the gallery while presenting socially beneficial exhibitions and events, which expand the conversation around contemporary art.