Contorted in Twister-like positions riding bikes, doing yoga and caring for plants, Keisha Prioleau-Martin’s vividly hued characters spill and slip across their canvas confines. The electricity of her figure’s gestures are echoed through her vigorous paint handling. By dragging her brush through thick paint to create ripples and waves and embedding beads and other objects into the painting’s surface, Keisha’s paintings are layered with texture, color and movement.
“I draw from life whenever I can and in the last three years I have been incorporating drawings from memory and inventing the form to emphasize emotion.”
“I thought about the experience of a young artist drawing from life: at first, they aren’t looking at the model enough and make assumptions about what the model looks like. Suddenly, their eyes are bigger, their hips are perfect curves. Their subconscious takes over the drawing and it becomes about how the young artist feels about the body instead of learning what they see.”
“Some of the themes that reoccur in my work are celebration, joy, and humor. There’s dancing and playing and lounging and bathing and biking.”
“A lot of planning goes into my work. I make lots of drawings in my sketchbook or on small pieces of paper. That initial drawing will lead to a series of drawings where I consider altering composition, values, and types of marks I would like to use. After iterations of these drawings have been made in graphite, pen, and India ink, I feel confident enough to paint it.”