Arvie Smith (born 1938) is a nationally recognized African American painter based in my hometown of Portland, Oregon.
There is a nice little bio of him here on the Hallie Ford Museum website, where he is having an exhibition from January 22- March 26th, 2022.
Smith's work is so, so, so many things.
The figures in his paintings shift from being vivid individuals, to embodying biting racist tropes, and back again. He celebrates Black culture and tradition, and in the same image crams racist symbols from the larger, white dominated culture. These images live side by side in the same painting, which is what I imagine it may be like for African Americans every day, all day long.
Seeing these paintings on your tiny phone or desk top will in no way indicate what it is like to see them in person. They fairly leap off the wall at you, and they seem to pulse with color and light.
His website is here:www.arviesmith.com
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