NEW YORK, NY.- A dramatic portrait of former First Lady Michelle Obama by artist Lennox Commissiong, a mosaic comprised of thousands of colorful paper dots, is on view at Harlems Dwyer Cultural Center, 258 St. Nicholas through August 26.
Michelle Obama comported herself with grace and dignity through one of the most racially troubled periods in recent times, said Commissiong. Each color dot represents the millions of women, of every race, creed religion, she inspired along the way.
The Michelle Obama portrait, created in the pointillism art technique, is part of Commissiongs WIZARDHANDS exhibition. His subjects range from cultural and political figures to jazz musicians. Over 20 artworks in the exhibition range from pointillism portraits of cultural legends like Tupac Shakur, Bob Marley, Muhammad Ali and Thelonious Monk to abstracts, water colors and pencil drawings.
I use an exacto knife and ruler to cut little pieces of museum quality Color-Aid paper, the artist explains. Each little piece is maybe one-centimeter square.
Pointillism is a technique of neo-impressionist painting, using tiny dots of various pure colors, which become blended in the viewer's eye. Commissiong has mastered this technique using small pieces of Color-Aid paper, instead of paint. Each portrait takes him about 300 hours to complete.
Lennox's unique style and fundamental understanding of the use of color draws one into his work and leads you through an exploration of the individual pieces, said Minerva Diaz, WIZARDHANDS curator and director of programs and operations at Dwyer Cultural Center. A few years back I attended his first show where I was drawn to his "Ali" piece and found myself exploring the tiny pieces of colored paper that captured the essence of his subject. His work introduced me to his unique twist on the style of pointillism and I've been talking about his work since.
Lennox Commissiong was born on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, his family moved to Brooklyn when he was age 14. He grew up in Brooklyn and is a graduate of Brooklyn College. His exhibitions include: Reflections of Monk Exhibition Wilmer Jennings Gallery; Pushing Paper: Realizing the Potential of the Medium at the Barrett Art Center in Poughkeepsie; Foundation at Expressions Art Gallery in Harlem and Black History Month Presents: Exhibition of the Artwork of Lennox Commissiong at Bay Shore-Brightwaters Library in Long Island, Brookdale Hospital Gallery in Brooklyn and the Harlem Fine Arts Show.
WIZARDHANDS is on view during HARLEM WEEK. There will be a closing reception on August 26.