COC to present public artist talk with Kumasi J. Barnett

Courtesy photo

The College of the Canyons Art Gallery will present a public artist talk with Kumasi J. Barnett to accompany his solo virtual exhibition “Kumasi J. Barnett: The Amazing Black-Man and Other American Stories,” at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25.

The virtual exhibition will be on view from Feb. 16 to April 2 on the gallery’s website.

The virtual presentation of recent works by the Baltimore-based artist highlights the artist’s ongoing exploration of race, class, gender, sexuality, politics and other contemporary issues in the United States. Drawing inspiration from the aesthetics of comic books, Barnett remakes those classic narratives into incisive commentary on contemporary culture. The comic books used for these paintings are sourced from Barnett’s own collection, which he started at a young age.

“I’m excited to be able to bring Kumasi J. Barnett and his artwork to our community — virtually that is,” said COC Art Gallery Director Pamela Lewis. “He’s a vitally important artist engaging vitally important cultural issues through his work.”

Barnett alters the covers of old comic books to transform classic good-versus-evil stories into a reflection on the problems that plague society: systemic racism, police brutality, corporate greed and political corruption. 

In Barnett’s paintings, beloved super heroes like The Hulk and Spider-Man are reimagined. The Hulk becomes The Media’s Thug. Spider-Man becomes The Amazing Black-Man, his super hero’s iconic red and blue mask and suit obliterated and replaced with carefully painted jeans, a brown face, and what has become an equally iconic garment since the murder of Trayvon Martin: a gray hoodie.

To attend Barnett’s free public artist talk via Zoom, email [email protected].

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