The SLU Contemporary Art Gallery proudly presents new paintings, works on paper, and a collaborative animated music video by New Orleans Based Artist John Isiah Walton. The exhibition Black Paintings: Cybernetic Folklore, Place, + Spirit derives its title from the form and subject matter depicted in Isiah’s artwork. Referencing Picasso’s “Blue Period” Isiah’s recent paintings uniformly begin with a grounding of black acrylic pigment which are then layered with white outlines and swift, colorful brushstrokes. Working in a reactionary manner, Isiah’s visual language is influenced by internet aesthetics, Black identity, pop culture, and Louisiana History to deliver poignant social commentary and a reflection of our contemporary moment. The exhibition is the first of its kind, featuring over thirty large-scale paintings created by John Isiah Walton over the last two years.
John Isiah Walton lives and works in New Orleans and has presented solo exhibitions at The Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art , The Front, New Orleans (2015, 2016); P339, Brooklyn (2015, 2016); Barrister’s Gallery, New Orleans (2014); and Identity Books, Graham, NC (2014). Selected group shows include: Tulane University, New Orleans (2017); The Front, New Orleans (2014); New Orleans Museum of Art (2014); Art Lab Akiba, Ginza, Tokyo (2014); Untitled Art Projects, Los Angeles (2013); among others. A co-founder of Level artist collective, Walton has been a member of both the Second Story Gallery (2012-13) and The Front, New Orleans (2014-present). He has lectured about his work to the graduate program at UNC, Chapel Hill (2014).
A closing reception will be held to celebrate the exhibition on September 2nd at 5:00 PM in the gallery. Musical guests Kumasi Afrobeat will be playing a selection of songs from their new album, “Live From Marigny Studios” the cover of which our featured artist John Isiah Walton designed. Also featured in the exhibition is “Cabilao” a music video inspired by John Isiah Walton’s paintings and produced for Kumasi in part by Southeastern Louisiana University students.