In new editions with Graphicstudio and Shore Publishing, William Villalongo’s singular approach to the black male figure (first unveiled in his 2017 exhibition “Keep on Pushing” at Susan Inglett Gallery) invokes issues of visibility and agency that are particularly urgent within black American experience. Flurries of leaves and stems are either cut from black substrates or applied to a dark background to form cyclonic bodies. Amid these silhouetted shapes, Villalongo inserts eyes, hands and pieces of clothing. The parts coalesce into specific events and people, but also suggest contingent states of being. Villalongo explains he was inspired by the sight of organic matter caught in a whirlwind: “I wanted to use motion and gesture in the work as a way to express a body navigating history, violence, social inequities and racial imagination.”1
- “William Villalongo in Conversation with Torkwase Dyson,” in William Villalongo: Keep on Pushing (New York: Susan Inglett Gallery, 2017), unpaginated; issuu.com/inglettgallery/docs/villalongo_keep_on_pushing_catalogu; accessed 13 December 2018.