“We have returned to claim the Pyramids”
Johnny Floyd’s paintings are a meditation on the liminal space that rests between the extrinsic nature of societal perception and the intrinsic experiential reality of Blackness in America. In his first solo exhibition, Floyd presents a series of surrealistic portraits that act as a portal to a world in which the Black Body is disconnected from an historically oppressive gaze in an attempt to reclaim the perspective from which traditional standards of beauty and aesthetics have emerged in the classic western artistic canon.
The works in Hyperblack Spectacle sprang from a thought experiment: What if Black Bodies were phenotypically presented through a visual language that more accurately presented the dynamic and improvisational nature of Blackness? What happens to the Black figure if it is allowed to exist outside the conventions created to stifle and strip away the profound beauty that is inherent in the Black experience? What if we brought forth the all-encompassing prismatic nature of Blackness as both a color and a cultural identity to the surface? Hyperblack Spectacle emerges humbly and simply as one of the infinite answers to these questions.
Johnny Floyd (b. 1984) is a self-taught painter working in Detroit, MI. He started painting when it became clear that creating was the only thing that made sense. Building on a foundational academic infrastructure based in Psychology and Sociolinguistics, Floyd’s work examines the African American experience through an interrogation of both historical and current cultural phenomena while simultaneously imagining a future in which Blackness in The United States of America is a sustainable condition. Through the melding of figurative, surrealistic, and abstracted practices, Floyd employs a broad artistic lens that coalesces into a visual language better suited to articulate this future. His practice is a process-driven meditation on an amalgamation of classical mythologies, ancestral connection, modern Black cultural artifacts, and historical record. Floyd addresses these themes through an improvisational approach to traditional art techniques and methodologies--a process that allows him to produce works that adhere to a specific thematic/narrative arc while remaining uniquely responsive to the environment(s) in which he is creating. He strives to allow his practice to be one of resistance, recovery, and reparation.