Hebru Brantley: Stance

29 July - 15 September 2019

Casterline|Goodman Gallery is pleased to present Stance, an exhibition featuring the work of artist Hebru Brantley. Charged, yet strangely playful, this series highlights a poised and aloof Flyboy with arms folded over his chest depicting a clear certainty, while his smirk confounds his assurance. The position, so still and dramatized, becomes statuesque, even monumental. But a monument to what? 

 

Brantley's "Flyboy" characters are influenced by the heroic Tuskegee Airmen of World War II and represent a playful social commentary that is deeply linked to Brantley's childhood growing up on the south side of Chicago.  The flyboy character offers a heroic archetype for young children of color to explore a wide range of pop culture topics varying from sports, art, and socio-economic trends. There's an unsettling stillness that surrounds Brantley's figures. This eerie stillness makes room for closer inspection. Upon deeper analysis, false facades, masquerades and veiled appearances are sprinkled throughout the posed stoic figures. Brantley pokes at our certainties and reveals instead our ambiguities. We are left questioning our bureaucratic disputes, our glorified heroes and our praised monuments. Brantley serves us the disappointing and false grandeur in state ship, tribalism, and power dynamics. Stance is on view from July 29, 2019 to September 15, 2019 in Aspen, CO.

 

Hebru Brantley creates narrative driven work revolving around his conceptualized iconic characters. Brantley utilizes these iconic characters to address complex ideas around nostalgia, the mental psyche, power, and hope. The color palettes, pop-art motifs and characters themselves create accessibility around Brantley's layered and multifaceted ideas. Majorly influenced by the South Side of Chicago's Afro Cobra movement in the 1960s and 70s, Brantley uses the lineage of mural and graffiti work as a frame to explore his inquiries. Brantley applies a plethora of mediums from oil, acrylic, watercolor and spray paint to non-traditional mediums such as coffee and tea. Brantley's work challenges the traditional view of the hero or protagonist. His work insists on a contemporary and distinct narrative that shapes and impacts the viewer's gaze.

 

Recognized nationally for public works and solo shows in Chicago, Hebru Brantley has exhibited in London, San Francisco, Atlanta, Miami, Seattle, Los Angeles and New York including Art Basel Switzerland, Art Basel Miami, Scope NYC and Frieze London. Brantley has been recognized in publications including the Chicago Tribune, Complex Magazine and NY Post. His work has been collected by Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, The Pritzker Family and power couple Jay-Z and Beyonce. Brantley has collaborated with brands like Nike, Hublot and Adidas. Brantley earned a B.A. in Film from Clark Atlanta University, and has a background in design and media illustration.