There aren’t that many surprises when wandering through art galleries in New York City neighborhoods. I was lucky enough to stumble upon works from Afro-Caribbean American portrait artist Kandy G Lopez with her innovative works. Ms. Lopez offers a personal perspective of those around her not with chiseled stone, paint on canvas or some other generally used art mediums, she uses instead yarn. In her inaugural show at ACA Gallery’s second New York location in Chelsea, Ms. Lopez is unburdened from those traditional mediums and put forth expressive and soulful portraits of people who represent her community.
Featured image: LAMENTING LUIS, 2023. Yarn and acrylic paint on mesh canvas
She was inspired by Ginetta Candelario’s essay entitled Black behind my Ears: Dominican Racial Identity from Museums to Beauty Shops. The essay dealt with the paradoxes of Dominican ethno-racial identity. “According to the text, hair for Dominicans is a signifier for ancestry, race, class, and gender. Hair characteristics and style tell us a lot about a person and determines privileges along with the preferred look of ‘Hispanic’— European + African = ideal beauty. Complicating the matter further, once Dominicans come to the US, their skin color puts them in a new classification of otherness. Depending on the situation, immigrants and many minorities in this country switch roles, and their identity becomes situational”, according to Ms. Lopez. As a multi-media American portrait artist, Lopez navigates through her own identity to further the conversation of “otherness” with metaphorical and psychological significance.
Kandy G Lopez: Situational Identity, New Works in Fiber on view at ACA Galleries September 5- October 21, 2023.