Dollar bills, sandwich bag, stem, staples, blunt, spray paint and acrylic on canvas
83 1/2 x 68 1/2 inches
Borrowing from Ike and Tina Turner’s song “Father Alone” (1974), this exhibition examines the vulnerabilities and expectations associated with single fatherhood. Having been raised in a single father home (with my father recently deceased) and now myself being a single father, I am interested in examining misconceptions, gender role combination, and celebrating heroism associated with being a single father.
This work capitalizes on nostalgic and autobiographical references – ranging from my childhood, my religious upbringings in the Bahamas, my relationship with my father, and my current role as a father. Notions of masculine paternal love, protection, loss and faith are examined throughout this work.
Religion is referenced often, as it played an important role in my upbringing. I question and make stealthy comments about Christian teachings, through coupling religious iconography with images of suggestive disasters, violence, abuse, death and grief. I employ a consistent palette of gold, white and ghostly transparencies, alluding to the degenerative journey between birth, death and the afterlife as understood through my Christian upbringing.
I have been developing a colony of anatomical sinew-like figures that I refer to as “Redbones.” Comprised primarily of exposed muscle fibers, the figures evoke strength, power and resilience. They also reference a harmony and sameness of mankind once stripped of race markings such as skin.
— Lavar Munroe (2020)
Lavar Munroe is an interdisciplinary artist whose work encompasses painting, drawing, sculpture and installation art. Munroe was born and raised in the impoverished and often marginalized Grants Town community in the Bahamas. His work functions as a reflection of the environment where he grew up, drawing from memory the crude graffiti on the walls that surrounded his street. Munroe maps a personal journey of survival and trauma in a world of gang violence, drugs, murder, self-discovery, development and overcoming obstacles through self-determination. Though inspired by the past, his energetic and unapologetic visual language confronts contemporary society and the difficult relationships between authority and the oppressed.
Lavar Munroe (b. 1982, Nassau, Bahamas) earned his BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2007 and his MFA from Washington University in 2013. In 2014, he was awarded a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Munroe was included in Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of The Swamp, the New Orleans triennial curated by Trevor Schoonmaker, and the 12th Dakar Biennale, curated by Simon Njami, in Senegal. In 2015, Munroe’s work was featured in All the World’s Futures, curated by Okwui Enwezor as part of the 56th Venice Biennale. Recent group shows include those at the Nasher Museum of Art in Durham; Perez Art Museum, Miami; National Gallery of Bahamas, Nassau; MAXXI Museum of Art, Rome; Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco; Virginia Museum of Modern Art, Virginia Beach; and The Drawing Center, New York. Munroe was awarded residencies at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, MacDowell Colony, the Headlands Center for the Arts, Joan Mitchell Center, Thread: Artist Residency & Cultural Center, a project of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation and was an inaugural Artists in Residence at the Norton Museum of Art. He is a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant. Lavar Munroe lives and works between Baltimore, Maryland and Nassau, Bahamas.
December 5, 2020 — January 16, 2021