Arcmanoro Niles | The Arena, 2017
Printer Matter Specs:
8.5" x 11"
Interview by Tim Goosens
Catalog published in conjunction with Arcmanoro Niles, The Arena, at Long Gallery, Harlem.
In The Arena, Niles renders his hometown of Washington D.C. as a mise en scène that challenges viewers to be engaged participants, as opposed to idle spectators, with life- sized figures that boldly stare back. Each scene examines a window of a moment, both imagined and true, in the lives of the artist's childhood friends, family, and community members. Niles' self-directed process of layering vibrant oil, acrylic, and glitter illuminates the beauty of vulnerability in his subjects. He captures each subject in a rich palette of highly saturated reds and yellows with skin tones that defiantly glow, an intensity that has the effect of bringing the viewer into the intimate world that is being presented.
Intermixed with the distinct figuration of the various subjects found in Niles' paintings, are abstracted silhouettes of trickster-like spirits that the artist refers to as "Seekers." The Seekers are found lurking within spontaneous moments of the composition as ubiquitous onlookers that envy and are regaled by the unabashed vulnerability of the subjects and their connections with one another. The contrast of the underlying abstracted world of the Seekers juxtaposed to the rawness of the intentionally overexposed subjects creates a duality of surrealism and the unrelenting fragility of the human condition.
Arcmanoro Niles was born in Washington DC. He attended the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and studied Figure Drawing at the Washington Studio School. He obtained his BFA from Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and his MFA at New York Academy of Art. Arcmanoro currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.