Devin Troy Strother
Please Don’t Tear Down The Dancehall, 2009, gouache, acrylic, cel vinyl and silkscreen on cut paper, 23 x 29.75 inches
All The Way Back like in 1995, 2010, enamel, acrylic, gouache, ink, graphite, silkscreen, collage on panel, 54 x 68 inches
Please Mr DJ, 2010, enamel, acrylic, gouache, ink, graphite, silkscreen, collage on paper, 20 x 34 inches
The Block Is Hot, 2009, enamel, acrylic, gouache, ink, graphite, silkcreen, collage on paper, 48 x 31 inches
Big Hustle, Little Hustle, 2010, enamel, acrylic, gouache, ink, silkscreen, collage on panel, 30 x 40 inches
Colors, 2009, gouache, acrylic, cel vinyl, enamel, ink and silkscreen on paper, 27 x 38.5 inches
Boom For Real, 2010, enamel, acrylic, gouache, ink, graphite, silkscreen, collage on paper, 21.75 x 37 inches
Wilda Inna ’89, 2009, acrylic, gouache, ink, graphite, silkcreen, collage on paper, 10.25 x 17.5 inches
The Get Down on Your Knees and Tell Me You Love Me Love Me, 2010, media as before, 12 x 17 inches
It’s Us Versus Them, 2010, enamel, acrylic, gouache, ink, graphite, silkscreen, collage on paper, 26 x 35 inches
The titles come before the work is made. I have a book that I keep of funny shit I hear or comments that I hear that are kind of interesting. It starts with a phrase or a title, and I try to generate an image that relates to the whole narrative, this world that I’m trying to make. The titles come from things I hear in rap songs or things I hear family members say, things friends say.
Am fascinated at the way in which images correspond to the
climate of our times.
It is true that an image can convey many things and often
portrays the same things
about the image-maker or where they come from.
Devin Troy Strothers work makes a statement about parties,
concerts, fantasies and other spectacles within an urban setting. What is
interesting here is that Strothers work seems driven, at this point, by a
“market audience.” His interest in fantasy with Black bodies is not
new nor is it rare. Contemporary Artist Tom Sanford likewise fetishises and
incorporates Black bodies into his fantasy paintings. His depictions of Black
celebrities or people in general denote the gross vilification of the Black
body for the sake of entertainment and commercial profit. Otherwise Rob Pruitt
and Jack Early would not have collaborated in 1992 or Jason Rhoads would not
have made his “Black Pussy” piece and titled a show after it. Also,
Johnny Weissmuller would not have made 12 Tarzan films and 13 Jungle Jim films
if there weren’t a profit in depicting Black people as raging savages.
Devon Troy Strothers understands this particular history and
the psychological effect on American culture and society. He may not be aware
of the trauma passed on directly to him from all sides but he like Tom Sanford,
Johnny Weissmuller, Jason Rhoads, Kalup Lindsay and Flip Wilson understands
that there is an American fascination with stereotyping Black people. The
unfortunate side, though there are many, is that it is seen as entertainment by
many but at a very high cost. Strothers may be providing a service to his
audience and it may profit him but he’s also destroying hundreds of years of
struggle to change those stereotypes.