As I went along this path I came across a quote from one of Scotland’s Lord Lyons where he stated that Heraldry is the handmaiden of history–that quote immediately became a beacon. I could annex this system, and configure it into a tool to speak of myself and the lineages from which I descend in a way that could be felt, if not understood at a glance.
– Kemar Keanu Wynter
Klaus von Nichtssagend is pleased to present Heralds, Kemar Keanu Wynter’s second solo exhibition with the gallery on view May 12 and running through June 17. In this exhibition, Wynter continues to develop his paperwork abstractions richly imbued with references to home, heritage and the cuisines that have defined both palate and palette.
Kemar Keanu Wynter is building a visual patois and at its foundation lies heraldry, a system of motifs compiled to identify and evoke the histories and legacies of the family. Assuming this tradition for his own, Heralds presents a suite of paintings centering on his parents, Grafton and Ionie Wynter-Bolden, and the dishes tethered to his childhood apartment at 770 Empire Boulevard, in Brooklyn.
With this transition, the square has taken a leave of absence. In its stead, Wynter has taken the profile of clamshell containers and tupperware tubs and fashioned robust hexagonal shields of shingled paper and grommets. Blazoned across each work, oil pastel scrawled saltire crosses obliquely partition the picture plane, nodding to the flag of Jamaica. These intimate parameters provide a new strain of formal complexities that guide each quadrant of sinuous, Gordian line and unctuous, whorling field. Text remains a core component of Wynter’s practice and with this newest selection of paintings, he has forgone the coding principles of previous works and generously shared the written vignettes prepared at the start of each painting session in a newly published catalog that will accompany the show.
In this exhibition, Kemar Keanu Wynter has prepared a small feast and has invited us to mindfully partake in its bounty.
Kemar Keanu Wynter (b. Brooklyn, NY) holds a BFA from the SUNY Purchase School of Art and Design. His work was the focus of recent solo exhibitions at Encounter, Lisbon, Portugal (2023), Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, New York (2021) and Tiger Strikes Asteroid, Queens (2021). He has exhibited in several recent group shows including Notes on Ecstatic Unity, OTP Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark; Faraway Nearby, North Loop Gallery, Williamstown, MA; Friends and Family, Magenta Plains, NY; Shining in the Low Tide, Unclebrother, Hancock, NY, and I Saw it Hang Down There, Bode Projects, Berlin. Wynter has been an artist-in-residence at The Macedonia Institute, Anderson Ranch Arts Center and Ox-Bow School of Art, as well as ARoS Kunstmuseum in Aarhus, Denmark and AQB in Budapest, Hungary (both facilitated by Flux Factory, New York). His work is held in the collection of the Art Galleries at Black Studies at the University of Texas, Austin. Wynter is also the focus of a two-person presentation with Klaus von Nichtssagend at the Independent Art Fair (with Tamara Gonzales).