Keisha Prioleau-Martin’s Body Euphoria


For Keisha Prioleau-Martin, the system is a bearer of pleasure and contemplation. In her miniature ceramic sculptures, the Queens-dependent artist captures moments of tender stillness. Dancers, workers, sunbathers, and dreamers coalesce in silent reverie, populating the studio house of ArtShack in Bed-Stuy.

As an antidote to dysmorphia and dysphoria, Prioleau-Martin performs on themes of human body euphoria. Her most up-to-date exhibition, titled Little Gestures, decorates the storefront gallery space with 35 jovial figurines, every single with its own manner of self-expression. The artist represents what she describes as the “inner glowing daily life of people today,” uplifting self-really like even with political and economic strife.  

Originally qualified as a painter, Prioleau-Martin exports her expressionist fashion from the canvas to the crafted setting, discovering the romance concerning the flat picture plane and a few-dimensional terrain. Bodies of all shapes, sizes, and colours prosper in their tiny neighborhood, organized alongside the gallery home windows and walls. Previously mentioned them, vibrant paintings match their palettes as an homage to her main exercise. 

Keisha Prioleau-Martin, “Mckenzie” (2022)
Keisha Prioleau-Martin, “Water Dancer” (2022)

The surfaces of shaded ceramics glisten with pastel streaks that resemble pools of rainwater on asphalt, or a rainbow. Her “Water Dancer” (2022), for illustration, grips a branch as a teal wave washes over. In the meantime, “Blue Overalls” (2022) incorporates a modest little bit of indigo paint to show denim on a Black determine at rest. Other pieces, these kinds of as “From Water” (2021) and “Yellow and White Painter” (2022), include a lot more monochromatic shades throughout their skin, drawing attention a lot less to race than to don — perhaps because of to age, trauma, or sunburn. 

Prioleau-Martin’s formal experiments at times enjoy methods on the eye. Every hardened imperfection is loaded with contrasting hues, although their placement prompts viewers to shift their standpoint as daylight adjustments in the gallery. Rays of solar caress the remaining side of a disembodied experience, which bears an expression of ecstasy above time its shadow stretches throughout the desk. All around this piece, numerous other sunbathers improve stay crops from their bellies, seemingly nonchalant in their reclining positions.

Keisha Prioleau-Martin, “From Water” (2021)
Keisha Prioleau-Martin, “Picking Flowers” (2022)

Other functions also interact with their environments, immersed in imaginary crowds, gardens, and dance halls. Prioleau-Martin’s individual representation beside live foliage plucks a flower, which turns into ceramic as if by magic. Nearby, a sequence of flat scenes resemble woodcuts in an ornamental arrangement, with two sculpted “Art Handlers” (2022) climbing a ladder underneath to give the perception they set up the parts them selves. This latter perform is a subtle nod to the artist’s labor at the Museum of Modern day Art.

Supplied latest discourse all over courting apps and anti-fatness, Prioleau-Martin reminds us how heteronormative perceptions of physique image have extended perpetuated notions of collectibility. Significantly much more vital than a “body count” is bodily autonomy, and Little Gestures helps make a remarkable affect. This is conveyed finest in the simple, resplendent “Sitting Youth” (2022), a standalone piece that steals the display. A younger Black female appears alone and shed in imagined, transcending all adversity in her posture of grace. The perform saliently encompasses the artist’s possess disposition — meditative, at peace, and flourishing. 

Keisha Prioleau-Martin, “Blue Overalls” (2022)
Keisha Prioleau-Martin, “Yellow and White Painter” (2022)

Keisha Prioleau-Martin: Smaller Gestures carries on at ArtShack (1131 Bedford Avenue, Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn) as a result of Might 19. The exhibition was organized by the gallery.


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