Barkley L. Hendricks has died.
Mr. Hendricks was a painter who painted people of color.
“In addition to his artistic practice, Barkley was an esteemed professor dedicated to his students at Connecticut College during his decades-long tenure from 1972 to 2010. Barkley shared a passion for Jamaica, and every winter, he and Susan traveled there, and he found a well of inspiration for his paintings and photography in the island’s diverse landscape and people. Barkley’s groundbreaking oeuvre represents everyday people, shining a light on subjects who weren’t typically depicted in life-sized oil paintings. His work paved the way for a new generation of figurative painters, and his absence in the art world will surely be felt. Susan is his wife.
Apparently Mr. Hendricks’s paintings cought the people in such vividness that they seemed lifelike. This is how the Huffington Post described his work:
“Inspired by jazz culture and bold fashion, he rendered images that captured complex interiority and performed pizzazz with equal enthusiasm.
As Huey Copeland wrote in Artforum in 2009, Hendricks ” not only valorized blackness but gave rise to emphatic displays of a new, self-conscious ‘to-be-looked-at-ness.’ Although throughout his life Hendricks continuously denied that his paintings were political, his work paid tribute to the excellence and beauty of young black men at a time when such subjects were rarely immortalized in paint.
His paintings simultaneously celebrated the splendor and flair of everyday people, while acknowledging how black bodies are consumed by white audiences through the structure of the art establishment. ” Hendricks explored the intersection of the black experience and painting history,” Christopher Knight wrote in 2009″ (2017.)