Artists Tschabalala Self, Ryan Mosley and Michael Armitage are in conversation with Whitechapel Gallery Chief Curator Lydia Yee to discuss their work in the context of our latest exhibition Radical Figures: Painting in the New Millennium.
Michael Armitage (b. 1984, Kenya) lives and works in London. He received a BA in Fine Art from the Slade School of Art, London (2007) and a Postgraduate Diploma from the Royal Academy Schools, London (2010). His paintings have a dreamlike quality with subjects drawn from Kenyan and East African folklore, popular culture, online news and his own memories of growing up in Kenya. Armitage paints in oil on a traditional Ugandan bark cloth called Lubugo. Its course texture shows through the paint layers, rooting his practice within an East African context. Armitage has had solo exhibitions at South London Gallery (2018), the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2019) and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia, Melbourne (2019).
Ryan Mosley (b. 1980, UK) lives and works in Sheffield. He studied at the University of Huddersfield, UK and received an MA from the Royal College of Art, London (2007). He assembles performative characters in antic carnivalesque scenarios where the figure seems to both emerge and become one with the background. Recurring motifs such as top hats, beards or foliage are derived from sources as diverse as the paintings of Gauguin and René Magritte or the visual clichés of Hollywood Westerns give his paintings. Mosley’s work has featured in institutional exhibitions including One Day, Something Happens: Paintings of People, Hayward Touring & Arts Council Collection exhibition, UK (2015) and Walls Have Ears, Aston Hall Museum, Birmingham, UK (2018).
Tschabalala Self (b.1990, USA) lives and works in New York and New Haven. She received a BA from Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY (2012) and an MFA from Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT (2015). Self depicts female black figures in an exaggerated and bold style using a combination of sewn, printed, and painted textures. Her work aims to navigate the stereotypical and sexualized representation of the Black female and male body in contemporary culture through assemblage techniques which reveal how identity is made up of many different elements. Self has had solo exhibitions at Parasol Unit, London (2017), the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2019) and she completed a residency at the Studio Museum, New York (2019).