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Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe at Roberts Projects


On view: January 11–March 8, 2020

In his first U.S. exhibition, Ghanaian artist Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe has no problem grabbing our attention. His colorful painted portraits are big, bold, and tenderly painted. In most works, Quaicoe’s subjects stare back at the viewer, amidst a backdrop of shocking color choices like bright teal, hot orange, muted lavender, or muddy seafoam. Two portraits, of fellow Ghanaian painters Amoako Boafo and Kwesi Botchway, are set against a gentle baby pink, the color offering a fragility that contrasts the masculine postures of each. Elsewhere, the color choices pull loudly, as in Orange Turtleneck, wherein the subject is styled with tasteful piercings, shades, a beret, and the titular sweater against a matching orange-peel-colored wall. In each, the personhood of the subject is unapologetically apparent, emotions that often lie beneath the surface, given space to emerge.