"Blood (Donald Formey)" (detail), 1975. Oil and acrylic on cotton canvas, 72 x 50 ½ inches. Collection of Dr. Kenneth Montague/The Wedge Collection
Last year I received a phone call from a good friend of mine who lives up in Philly. He was asking me have I heard of this black artist that's getting all this press now. My friend always one for a good art talk. I named off a couple, then I stumbled upon Hendricks not knowing his name at the time, but I described his work. About month before Adam called I ran across him in a couple art magazines that reviewed his traveling exhibition. I especially remember this photo self-portrait he took and being highly amused by it. After me and my friend talked painting mainly African American contemporary painters and the scene now. I went back to Barnes and Noble they still had the magazine, I wrote his name down and I looked Hendricks up to get more familiar with his work. I was really impressed with what I saw. His level detail is extraordinary. What I saw was highly executed portraits with solid background colors and some gold leaf. It was beautiful, his since of composition, I extremely enjoy the uncomfortable crops at times like in his painting "Vendetta". He executes in what I would call a classical/realist manner, but is sensibilities are very much modern.
Barkley L. Hendricks (born 1945, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is a contemporary African American painter. Hendricks' is most known for his life-sized portraits. He earned his diploma at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and received both his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Yale University. Currently, he serves as a art professor at Connecticut College. His work is on display in many public collections, including the National Gallery of Art, the Chrysler Museum of Art, the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and many more institutions.