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Kemar Keanu Wynter
Postcards

Brooklyn-based artist Kemar Keanu Wynter’s abstract paperworks are born from his evenings in the vibrant kitchens of his elders and continued samplings of the masterfully crafted cuisines of his community. Recalling these moments, Wynter builds his compositions with color and mark, encoding his experience through intuited layers of tone. His gestures sit on the cusp of language, emerging and receding through washes of pigment and blurring erasure. Employing a variety of scales and media from tapestry-sized oil-stick paintings to diagrammatic pastel-and-graphite works, and more recently deftly brushed watercolor drawings, Wynter’s sinuous strokes draw the viewer in with color and dynamism.

Kemar’s journalistic and prose–poetic writings are a recurrent element of his practice and frequently appear alongside his abstractions. This edition of KLAUSGALLERY.cloud takes a look at the artist’s recent three-month travels across Europe through journal entries and watercolors initiated during his studio residencies at the ARoS Kunstmuseum in Aarhus, Denmark and Art Quarter Budapest in Budafok.

August 16th, 2021
Aarhus Hovedbanegård
5:36a

My tired feet take their first steps into the city, the main square cast in the cornflower hues of an emerging dawn. Each step, followed by the trembling whir of luggage wheels usher me down cobblestone promenades and past bakeries whose amber lights are vital beacons through the not-yet-fully roused streets of Aarhus. In that quarter hour, I make my way past centuries old viking warehouses and merchant districts to Grønnegade 61, my home for the coming months. Climbing my final flights of stairs and resting my head on a bed meant for one half my age, pale azures give way to creamed butter as the first utterances of a new day gleam through sheer curtains.

 

August 23rd, 2021
ARoS Public
3:43p

Danes don’t play about their bread, which is quite alright with me as I am known to down a good focaccia on my off days. Rugbrød is the loaf of choice out here though, and it is found in abundance. Stout in texture, stout in color, tasting of milled rye and scorched sugar and cut into slices not much larger than three middle fingers pressed together. These dense cuttings are the ideal bread for smørrebrød, open faced sandwiches deftly layered with cured meats, fresh herbs and about any other condiment you might fancy. The gravlax, sour pickle, dill combo appeals greatly to my egg-everything bagel and lox sensibilities but the true standout is the chorizo smørrebrød. Rendered pork and minced onions tinged saffron in the drippings of lard and spice, adorning a remoulade schmeared toast; with each smørrebrød being a quarter-sandwich it’s not unreasonable to down four or five, or if you’re honest with yourself, seven or eight.

Kemar Keanu Wynter
Gravlax Brød, 2021-2022
Watercolor and Watercolor Pencil on 140lb. French Starch White
8 ½ × 11 inches (21.59 × 27.94 cm)

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Kemar Keanu Wynter
Chorizo Smørrebrød, 2021-2022
Watercolor and Watercolor Pencil on 140lb. French Starch White
8 ½ × 11 inches (21.59 × 27.94 cm)

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August 27th, 2021
Ole’s House, Ry
5:21p

The rebar and concrete armatures of Aarhus’ new developments soon bowed into rolling hills and the winding mouths of grazing cattle as we drove to the nearby town of Ry. It was my first commune, it gave less Woodstock, and more a neat collection of rowhouses occupied by new families, bright-eyed twenty-somethings and eccentric elder ceramicists, flanked by boundless pastures and boat sheds. As the guests, I happily minced down a bushel of scallions for the cauldron of hoisin chicken at the center of tonight’s dinner in the communal hall. After dinner, we walked the grounds and I made friends with the row of plum trees that made the southern boundary of the communal grounds. I plucked greedily at the ochre and prune-skinned fruits, doubly so at the still hanging yield of one tree whose boughs were lowered and singed by lightning in the last storm. As we made our way beyond the trees and along the path to the lake, I carefully cleaned twenty or so pits with my teeth, thinking of the sappy, saccharine bounty to await me in two or three summers. Of course, the seeds were seized by customs on the way home but if you tried these plums, you wouldn’t blame me for trying.

Kemar Keanu Wynter
Hoisin Chicken, 2021-2022
Watercolor and Watercolor Pencil on 140lb. French Starch White
8 ½ × 11 inches (21.59 × 27.94 cm)

SOLD

Kemar Keanu Wynter
Empress Plums, 2021-2022
Watercolor and Watercolor Pencil on 140lb. French Starch White
8 ½ × 11 inches (21.59 × 27.94 cm)

SOLD

September 16th, 2021
Institut for X, Aarhus
2:54a

Beaming lights, driving bass, early onset tinnitus and the haze of a few too many tuborgs— textbook markers of a good night in Aarhus. But when the sound systems die, the club goes dark and September’s 3am chill brings you back to your body and more importantly, your stomach, 7/11 is your sole savior in a city where most every restaurant shutters at eight. Watch your step as you stumble in through the automatic doors and say a quick prayer that the kyllingspyd are in stock. Usually in tikka or teriyaki, the teriyaki being leagues superior, you are handed carefully wrapped skewers of roasted chicken, shellacked in a sweet, smoky soy glaze. Impossible to resist on your walk home, a couple of these will be the well-earned treat that keeps you from swimming in your bed.

Kemar Keanu Wynter
Tuborg, 2021-2022
Watercolor and Watercolor Pencil on 140lb. French Starch White
8 ½ × 11 inches (21.59 × 27.94 cm)

SOLD

Kemar Keanu Wynter
Teriyaki Kyllingspyd, 2021-2022
Watercolor and Watercolor Pencil on 140lb. French Starch White
8 ½ × 11 inches (21.59 × 27.94 cm)

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September 27th, 2021
DB 5722 Between Hamburg and Aarhus,
12:13p

While in Berlin, I had to take stock of the fact that in my three trips to the city, none of my favorite eateries were German. Thinking back, none of my favorite eateries in Denmark were Danish. Mustafa’s Gemuse Kebap, Malakeh, Faour, Shawarma King; Turkish, Syrian, Palestinian, Syrian. Each of these restaurants are iconic, foundational institutions in demarcating the culinary identity of their neighborhoods and communities. Exiled, evacuated, displaced, voyaging thousands of kilometers to find life in the heart of empire. Tongue flickering between the Mother, German, Danish, English and feeding the host before them in the time it takes for me to poorly try to switch between two. That cannot go unrecognized, the labor and effort that comes with that upending, that rebuilding and with being an unwilling exemplar in a land foreign and often times hostile.

Kemar Keanu Wynter
Lam Stor, 2021-2022
Watercolor and Watercolor Pencil on 140lb. French Starch White
8 ½ × 11 inches (21.59 × 27.94 cm)

SOLD

Kemar Keanu Wynter
Makloubeh, 2021-2022
Watercolor and Watercolor Pencil on 140lb. French Starch White
8 ½ × 11 inches (21.59 × 27.94 cm)

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Kemar Keanu Wynter
Kylling Stor, 2021-2022
Watercolor and Watercolor Pencil on 140lb. French Starch White
8 ½ × 11 inches (21.59 × 27.94 cm)

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Kemar Keanu Wynter
Bentesvej Falafel, 2021-2022
Watercolor and Watercolor Pencil on 140lb. French Starch White
8 ½ × 11 inches (21.59 × 27.94 cm)

SOLD

October 1st, 2021
Budafok, District XXII, Budapest
3:05p

The scent was faint and familiar as we careened off the highway and entered Budafok, but as the car parked in the yard of AQB I was truly certain that the aroma held a familiar name. Does anyone smell Milo? I said it aloud to maya and Dorrie in earshot. No one else got it but as I traveled the grounds and was oriented around the warehouse that I’d be spending this next month, it was unmistakable. Warm malt powder and chocolate notes incensed the entire neighborhood just like my Empire Boulevard apartment during the Saturdays of my childhood. I would learn that on opposing ends of the complex were a bakery and chocolatier. The notes perfuming my nostrils were a mingling of fermented enriched dough and cacao liquor that scattered their splendor across the grounds. The earliest I could, Wednesday, I had the warmth of a brioche bun staving off the brisk October morning from my fingertips and melting the bar of dark chocolate held underneath. Wednesday and Friday and Wednesday again through the month my bread and chocolate ritual brought me back to being that lil boy in the husky pants.

Kemar Keanu Wynter
Wednesday’s Brioche, 2021-2022
Watercolor and Watercolor Pencil on 140lb. French Starch White
8 ½ × 11 inches (21.59 × 27.94 cm)

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Kemar Keanu Wynter
76% Black Sesame, 2021-2022
Watercolor and Watercolor Pencil on 140lb. French Starch White
8 ½ × 11 inches (21.59 × 27.94 cm)

SOLD

October 21st, 2021
Art Quarter Budapest
7:51p

The crackling blue-grey smoke of fresh wood on the pyre and the sweet caramels of soft veggies and searing beef that follow behind on the Danube’s breezes. A rumbling, sputtering and rolling, brew tinged scarlet with two hands of paprika sits upon the hearth. A soup that brightens the eyes, moistens the brow and stays the river’s chill from your bones. We toasted with Unicum, clearest of spirits, smelling of anise and the licorice that served as the recurrent bane of my trip, but without the sweetness of the candies and the height of its proof, presented only as fire on my tongue, and gentle smolders in my belly. Hot, yet cool and full to the brim, it’s easy to understand why the Magyar saw these verdant coasts, picked the spice of these hills, mashed the grapes that would soon sweetly warm their chests and said

Let’s stop here.

Kemar Keanu Wynter
Gulya’s Goulash, 2021-2022
Watercolor and Watercolor Pencil on 140lb. French Starch White
8 ½ × 11 inches (21.59 × 27.94 cm)

SOLD

Kemar Keanu Wynter
Unicum, 2021-2022
Watercolor and Watercolor Pencil on 140lb. French Starch White
8 ½ × 11 inches (21.59 × 27.94 cm)

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November 7th, 2021
Home
5:20p

You have to end where you begin, for me that’s home. 

After those first few days of jetlag, it’s nice to get back in the kitchen and get my hands busy. If you ask what recipe defines me, it has to be without question, macaroni pie. I spent a lot of my youngest years as my mother’s shadow, or as my aunties would tease, her deodorant, clutching to her violet robe as she cooked after work. At some point my mother got tired of answering my inquisitive questions and thought it better to just show me how to make the dish. Soon enough, I was good enough to make it myself and she had one less thing to fix during the holidays.

My passion for cooking starts here, in the alchemy of the making
and the potential to nourish both body and soul.

Kemar Keanu Wynter
Macaroni Pie, 2021-2022
Watercolor and Watercolor Pencil on 140lb. French Starch White
8 ½ × 11 inches (21.59 × 27.94 cm)

SOLD

RECIPE

Macaroni Pie

Supplies:

Colander
Box grater
Whisk
Casserole dish, ramekins or a heavy-duty aluminum foil pan

Ingredients:

4 oz. parmesan
8 oz. asiago
8 oz. sharp yellow cheddar
8 oz. extra sharp white cheddar
16 oz. elbow macaroni
3 large eggs
4 tbsp butter
8 fl oz. of milk
12 oz. of sour cream
Seasoned Breadcrumbs

 

 

Take your eggs, butter, milk and sour cream out early, allow to sit for twenty to thirty minutes to come up to room temperature. You want to mix these items together and incorporate them as smoothly as possible. Typically the colder your butter, the less likely it is to easily blend with the other ingredients. Clumps of butter will by no means be the end of the world, I do it all the time but if it matters to you, definitely be mindful and give your dairies time to lose their chill. Keep aside.

Grate down the cheddar and asiago into a bowl, take about four ounces of the cheddar-asiago blend and keep aside for finishing. Grate down the parmesan separately and keep aside for wet ingredients.

Preheat your oven to 350° Fahrenheit

Set a large pot of water to boil, salt until you reach an oysters level of brininess. Once at a boil, add your elbows to the water and give a vigorous stir to prevent clumping. Stir once again halfway through total cook time which should be a minute shy of your noodle package’s al dente.

Pour off your noodles into a colander and then return to their boiling pot. Do not cool noodles under water. Add your cheddar-asiago blend to the hot noodles and stir together until no large clumps remain. Add your grated parmesan to the dairy mixture that was kept aside. Whisk briefly before pouring atop noodle-cheddar-asiago amalgam, stir until well incorporated. 

Pour out the mixture into your vessel of choice and place into the oven to bake. Larger vessels will take anywhere from 30-45 minutes to bake while ramekins can take as little as 15 minutes. If the top of your bake gets too brown, feel free to cover with foil to minimize further darkening. To check for doneness, run a toothpick through a few spots around the center of the dish. If the pick runs mostly clean you can take it out then as carry-over heat will cook the macaroni pie to it’s fully set state.

Place onto a countertop to cool for 20-30 minutes and prepare your seasoned breadcrumbs as you wait. I like to buy panko breadcrumbs and add dried oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, a pinch of bouillon, and heavy grinds of black pepper to the mix. 

Turn your oven to 450° Fahrenheit or Broil. As it comes to temperature, take your leftover cheddar-asiago blend and sprinkle evenly. Follow that up with an even spread of panko breadcrumbs, be careful as too heavy of an arrangement will cause the breadcrumbs to burn heavily, you want a little spotting. Place your vessel onto the top rack of your oven, or broiler compartment below, depending on your design and keep an eye on it. Allow the cheese and breadcrumbs to form an even golden-brown crust. Once that’s achieved, you’re ready to take out the dish and serve.

Postscript

Learn more about Kemar Keanu Wynter:

Visit Wynter’s Artist Page on KLAUSGALLERY.com
Read a review of “Portions” at Tiger Strikes Asteroid in The Brooklyn Rail
Read an interview with the artist on Bon Appetit‘s website

To view a complete list of Kemar Keanu Wynter’s watercolors featured on this edition of KLAUSGALLERY.cloud, click on the shop link below.

View Watercolors

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