• Brandt Maina

THE YOUNG, BLACK ABSURDITY OF AN ABRACT ARTIST

"SHE NEEDS NO INTRODUCTION, SHE IS SITTING RIGHT THERE"

"WHERE?"

"THERE… ALL AROUND YOU"

from Love, Au Nun fulfilled, a play by Brandt Maina | RIOA wa RIOE


Our aim is to shift the visual conversation


Brandt Maina | RIOA wa RIOE, Every Sunbeam will be Tested ( Sept 2022), No. 1/ 24 from "Prophetic Charcoal Dreams" (September 2022)

12 x 16 in

charcoal, oil and chalk pastel, ink on paper

Kehinde Wiley, Kara Walker, Yinka Shonibare, Wangechi Mutu — just to name a few of the great contemporary Black artists in our time whose works, techniques, and styles are as broad as the Back of the Universe.

The common line-through, however: figurative artists representing, blessing and honoring Black and Brown bodies

Naturally, the great contemporary Black artists in our Time are creating MASSIVE paintings.

Huge

HUUUUUUUUUGE!

Stamping the beautiful extremities of their sunbursting Spirits into space and exhaling,

“I AM HERE”

As they should 😌

We will define “great” in two ways:


First, artists whose work is,


a. selling for 4-6 figures at established art auctions and galleries around the world, and b. being purchased and displayed by museums, art institutions and notable collectors.

Secondly, artists whose artwork is defining an era.


Kahinde Wiley. The man who brushed Black and Brown bodies onto linen, bronze, and glass and reimagined Olympus as Our divine Sanctuary. Kara Walker, a narrator whose ability to harrow bodies into the present spaces of Our history inspires my desire to sharpen the Truth of my own story.

Wangechi Mutu. Flesh transcending into ether to divine the celestial anomaly of thought. Worlds which we cannot uneven…


"If thy brain hurts, thy brain is expanding 😌" (RIOA)


The established convention of Meaning Making defaults unimaginatively. Even words are oddities.

Our aim is to shift the visual conversation



Brandt Maina | RIOA wa RIOE, Hope, A Sisyphean Workout, from The Birth of the Sun from the River (Summer 2021)

8.5 x 5.5 in

oil pastel on paper


There are very few Black non-figurative abstract expressionists

As I acknowledge the vital importance of immortalizing the embodied lives and cultures of Black and Brown people in art, I wonder, I wonder if we aren’t being defined as an artistic generation in the contemporary 21st century.

What is now?


There is a predominantly you-know-who art world hungry to consume 2^3 dimensional Black and Brown shapes, figures and lines. Bodies.

Little pledges.

Little tokens.

And we as Black and Brown artists, recreating a supply for the demand.

Heave through the river of sales receipts.

Do the math.

Regurgitation

Most of my research for abstract artwork by Black and Brown artists is met with reintegrations of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s style — figurative “primitivist” style (we’ll unpack that word at another time, babes, I’m on a word budget)



Figurative

Always

Figurative


As a form, as a symbol, the Black body will always sell

Brandt Maina | RIOA wa RIOE, detail from Resilient Joy: Unconditional Love ( June 2021)

1932 x 2576

digital art, Non-Fungible Token


In a post-pandemic world, when Truth has left a scattering of marginalized bodies

The auction continues

They are ready to purchase

To pledge their tokens

"No, not me -- me I support..."

As a form, as a symbol, the Black body will always sell

The mediums has shifted

The story is the same

And yes, perhaps, it is a callous refining itself in the city with more BLM signs than Black people

So allow me to exhale and exclaim That nevertheless, nevertheless

Wherever you are, the story is the same


This is a contemplation on the Symbology of Black and Brown Bodies

If the medium is the message

Then I am reclaiming my form


Brandt Maina | RIOA wa RIOE, NFT of a final farewell to the pain I called home from "resilient joy, a t. table book ( June 2021)

600 x 200 (compressed for access)

digital art, Non-Fungible Token


What if I wish

What if I wish not to sell the shapes of my flesh

Leathery thick velvety smooth chocolatey brown

Skin as red as Kenyan soil


ALL DIRT IS DIRT

What if I wish

Obsidian Black Charcoal Blue tears and tears ripping down my back

Crack your mind just a little bit more open

Whack

Thwack

Smack

VIRGIN SNACK


There is an ebbing and growing frustration that the art market will not value my Black experience if it is abstracted into non-figurative expressionism

So here I AM

Putting in the work

Sowing seeds of Fractions of Light

Shifting


Brandt Maina | RIOA wa RIOE, Titled Sunbeam V ( Summer 2021), from "Sunberries, Moon Blubs, and the Life and Death of Pastel Purple" (Summer 2021)

8.5 x 11.5 in

oil pastel on paper

Our aim is to rift the civil conversation

There are very few prolific Black non-figurative abstract expressionists

And so and so and so

And so, as such….

🌞FOCUS🌞

Gaze

Past the melanin

Deep into the Black Memory Tape unfurling in these eyes



Brandt Maina | RIOA wa RIOE, detail from Every Sunbeam will be tested ( Sept 2022), No. 1/ 24 from "Prophetic Charcoal Dreams" (September 2022)

12 x 16 in

charcoal, oil and chalk pastel, ink on paper

Our aim is to shift the visual condensation

LOVE

LIFE LIGHT

Lift back into the recesses of Nothing

Let Her shave your dermal shroud

CHAOS, Mother to us all

The shade of the skin of OUR teeth is an entropic joust with Death, Grief, and the Pursuit of Timelessness

WE ARE shifting the visual contestation

Nothing New, Something Old

No Originality, Just Iteration

Right here, Right Now

I humbly Present,

“Prophetic Charcoal Dreams”

24 abstract expressionist charcoal-centered mixed media drawings

Smol absurdist infinities

No big like Wiley, Oh

No big like Odutola, Walker, Mutu, Shinabare, or Fawudu

Smol like an overflowing teacup

12 by 16

Ripples

4 (12 by 18)

The Great Waves which shape mountains into Generations



Brandt Maina | RIOA wa RIOE, detail from Every Sunbeam will be tested ( Sept 2022), No. 1/ 24 from "Prophetic Charcoal Dreams" (September 2022)

12 x 16 in

charcoal, oil and chalk pastel, ink on paper


Huge shout out to Julie Mehretu, Skunder Boghossian, Joseph Ntensibe, Hussein Shariffe, tho

There are very few Black non-figurative abstract expressionists

But the road less travelled has been paved

Nothing new, just iteration I AM guided by ancestors


🌞🤲🏽


And just so you know

If I wanted to I could

But They would consume it all as they did my body whence once I placed it on a stage

For 20 years, I tore my soul between their eyes

Rip

Rack

Crock pot in a stew

And they ate it all up

And just so you know, just so you know...

If I wanted to I could

But I already did

20 whole years of selling a body to hungry eyes

How I revealed in every minute of their energetic cannibalism

Colonialism

And now I am moving on

Brandt Maina | RIOA wa RIOE, What you can expect next from me is the completed work for your approval ( Nov 11, 2022)

dimensions vary

oil pastel, and apparently a banana on paper


Oh look, I did it again

Pushing pushing pushing and pushing pushing pushing

The Black of my figure and hoping that they clap

Snap

Crackle

"Smile like a jazz square"

Attack



Let me crumple Our brains instead

I promise it will be pretty

Gentle stabs and

Exquisite pressure

Visual Consternation

Explosive emotional constipation

Please share your thoughts, feelings and sensations

Gift your comments

And let’s shift and grow together

Close your eyes, give me your hand, bestie

Do you feel my heart bleating

Do you understand

We’re on a mission to see, our heavenly Gog

Wag tails, wail gods

Did deeper into discomfort

And unearth something quite quite…

The vacuous empty universe from which we were all Born

Our Mommy, Nothing



Brandt Maina | RIOA wa RIOE, A Boy and His Kite (June 18, 2021, 9:17pm)

12 x 16 in

digital photograph

Nothing

Streetname: Lil’ Mama CHAOS


The original bad biddie

Nada

She didn’t care nun ‘bout shift’n’ no conversational tones

Tiddie and Eternal Flame

Lady Dada

SHE done said what needed to be said

SHE done done what needed to be done

STIFF WHERE?

It’s the Black Ribbon of TIME

STIFFFFFF

WHEREEEEEEEEE??



Playful, playful, playful

CHAOS

She’s wrapped all around you

A finite eternity of Darkness from which we did

LIFT Our LIFE,

and LOVE

Every Sunbeam Will be Tested

Light


-🌞🤲🏽



Brandt Maina | RIOA wa RIOE, detail from Every Sunbeam will be tested ( Sept 2022), No. 1/ 24 from "Prophetic Charcoal Dreams"

12 x 16 in

charcoal, oil and chalk pastel, ink on paper

——————

"Though it be a thrilling and marvelous thing to be merely young and gifted, in such times, it is doubly so, doubly dynamic, to be young gifted and black."

  • Lorraine Hansberry, to a group of young writers in 1964


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References,


(I am an absurdist writer -- but never unprofessional

STIFFFFF WHEEEEEENNNNNNST

Bestie, you #know better.com


https://www.onegreenplanet.org/human-interest/10-contemporary-black-artists-you-need-to-know-about/

https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/kehinde_wiley_new_republic/

https://www.artandobject.com/news/abstract-expressionism-brief-history-exploration

https://www.npr.org/2005/06/01/4674694/painter-kehinde-wiley

https://www.artbusiness.com/artists-how-to-organize-document-art.html

https://www.artbusiness.com/collectpro.html

https://contemporaryand.com/magazines/listening-is-a-skill-and-we-dont-do-it-enough/



https://www.dailyartmagazine.com/primitivism/


Creation: A RIOA Curation

https://www.bonhams.com/auction/27310/lot/15/alexander-skunder-boghossian-ethiopian-1937-2003-untitled-21-12-x-18in-546-x-457cm/

https://www.barjeelartfoundation.org/collection/moons-and-upside-down-mountain-husein-shariffe/

https://www.bonhams.com/auction/27310/lot/13/joseph-ntensibe-ugandan-born-1953-abstract-shapes-73-716-x-49-316in-1865-x-125cm/



https://www.bonhams.com/auction/27796/lot/49/hussein-shariffe-sudan-1934-2005-untitled/