A painterly kaleidoscope of Black queer life
Bright paint, sequins, rhinestones, fabric, feathers: the paintings of Pittsburgh-based artist Devan Shimoyama (born 1989) resemble midsummer night dreams of alternative masculinities. A graduate of the Yale School of Art, Shimoyama embraces the pain and joy of Black and queer life in psychedelic day-glo colors. The majority of his works depict Black men transposed into allegorical scenes from Greek mythology and tarot imagery (Shimoyama has stated that he wants the figures in his work to be perceived as "both desirable and desirous"); for example, Abduction of Ganymede depicts a figure resembling the artist swept up in the air by Zeus in the form of an eagle. The painting deploys Shimoyama’s signature materials: Ganymede’s eyes are rhinestones and costume jewelry, and the eagle’s wings are gilt.
This lavishly designed catalog, produced for his first institutional solo exhibition in Europe, provides an excellent introduction to Shimoyama’s electrifying art.