Los Angeles’s Richard Heller Gallery have opened a new project space Yes, Please & Thank You in the city’s Historic Chinatown Arts District, and premiered with a solo show from regular gallery fixture, Devin Troy Strother.
It’s a Kickback, Not a Party features new works from the American artist, who has previously shown They Should’ve Never Given You Niggas Money at the gallery in 2015, and Look at all My Shit in 2013. His paintings convey a similarly balanced level of tension and humour as his titles, often combining contemporary culture, black stereotype and a deep affinity with recent art history — he cites Joseph Cornell, Marcel Duchamp and Henri Matisse as influences — in richly coloured, paint-laden works.
True to form, It’s a Kickback, Not a Party sums itself up with a comical definition: “To have close friends get together at someone’s house in a party-like situation without calling it a party. Kickbacks have one simple rule. They are not parties. No illegit friends of friends of friends showing up empty-handed and emptying your fridge. Kickbacks are the stress-free versions of parties where the host doesn’t have to worry about shit breaking or cops being called.”
Many of the works take a slightly darker palette than we’re used to; tropical pinks, yellows and oranges replaced in many cases with muddied, grassy greens, intense greys and deep reds. Strother’s works, despite their many implications, tend to employ a jubilant facade. Here, while the limbs are still wildly swinging in these works, breasts maniacally flying at 180 degrees to one another and smiles still etched upon grinning faces, the party feels more overtly twisted than ever.
‘It’s a Kickback, Not a Party’ runs until 10 December at Yes, Please & Thank You, LA