Kemar Keanu Wynter

Texture, flavor and heat are my work. I’m building a visual Patois, a practice through which I can triangulate myself between the Caribbean, New York and the innumerable cultures and cuisines yet encountered. Layers of luscious whorls draw the viewer into fields of color which operate with coded references to my histories; one, generations-long in the Antilles and another still burgeoning within the Five Boroughs. Through this interplay of motif and materiality, the viewer’s own tethers to comfort, heritage and home are brought into focus.

As of late, heraldic traditions have served as a central reference point in this practice. Leaning on heraldry’s role as the “handmaiden of history”, my new paintings are hexagonal in form; clamshell takeaway containers from the chicken spot–tupperware tubs stacked high in Auntie’s cupboard, now fashioned into shields. Saltire crosses nod to Jamaica’s flag and partition each surface into sharpened quarters. Each painting’s palette is styled to the atmosphere– not just notes of pimento and sazón on the tongue, but the humidity of a roiling boil and the raucous banter of my loved ones across any hundred of our Friday night dinners.

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 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, Ox-Bow School of Art, the 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 has forthcoming solo shows with Encounter Lisbon and Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery in the spring of 2023.

The LES Studio Program is supported in part by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.