Barkley Hendricks is best known for life-size paintings of African Americans depicted against flat backgrounds of silver or copper leaf. His subjects are usually ordinary people he encounters on the streets and then photographs. The results are empowering portrayals of individuals who seem at once vulnerable and confident. Working within a tradition of American realism, Hendricks imbues his portraits with the coolness of pop art and posters, and these works have influenced numerous younger painters who work within the tradition of black figuration. In addition, he paints landscapes—mostly of Jamaica, where he also lives—and produces photographs and drawings.
Portrait photo courtesy Barkley L. Hendricks and Nasher Museum of Art.
October's Gone...Goodnight, 1973, oil, acrylic, and magna on linen canvas, 72" x 72"; photo courtesy A. Vincent Scarano