Untitled Anxious Red Drawings
With the online exhibition ‘Untitled Anxious Red Drawings,’ American artist Rashid Johnson introduces a selection of new works made since the onset of the global coronavirus pandemic. Using oil stick on cotton rag paper, the artist has here updated the visual language of his long-established ‘Anxious Men’ series, in which deceptively crude archetypal faces express the fundamental tensions and traumas that course through contemporary life.
‘In my project I have never thought about drawings as sketches for other works but as autonomous and final.’
Johnson’s ‘Anxious Men’ series has been characterized by faces scratched into the pictorial surface in a kind of drawing through erasure, where his new Anxious Red Drawings employ only the direct application of intense color. The repeated motif in his new works suggest both the ongoing context of global instability and our new reality.
About the artist
Rashid Johnson is among an influential cadre of contemporary American artists whose work employs a wide range of media to explore themes of art history, individual and shared cultural identities, personal narratives, literature, philosophy, materiality, and critical history. Johnson’s work is known for its narrative embedding of a pointed range of everyday materials and objects, often associated with his childhood and frequently referencing collective aspects of African American intellectual history and cultural identity.