The American painter Arcmanoro Niles is best known for his bold use of incandescent color—blazing pink, burning orange, ultramarine. “I was always interested in color,” Niles told Elephant last May. “Always trying to pull together all these colors that I saw, or thought I saw, in my darker flesh.” Within his coruscating colors, which can have the immediate effect of dazing the viewer, lies work that is deeply personal. Mining his memories, Niles creates portraits and domestic scenes from the photographs of relatives and his boyhood home in Washington, D.C. His paintings often work through past conflicts—the tender restlessness of boyhood, the struggle to find his voice as an artist. The title painting of this exhibition, Niles’s first show at Lehmann Maupin, is a calmly balanced yet achingly vibrant sunset view of a lagoon, its lavender surface corralled in brick red. The painting is intensely moody—suggestive of changing tides, unforeseen rain, uncertain outcomes—while the geranium-pink clouds, glowing with confidence, seem to signal his blossoming career. —C.J.F.
Lehmann Maupin 536 W 22nd St, New York, NY 10011 Get Directions »