Composed of textured brushstrokes and built-up layers of paint, this lush and vivid landscape painting shifts between abstraction and representation—as well as the psychological and symbolic. The skeleton figure in this work was painted from a model in the studio; the artist included it in the composition as a way to comment on mortality and the passage of time. Grounded in the tradition of plein air painting, or the practice of working outside the studio, the artist uses observation and imagination in equal measure.
About this work, which Lumin Wakoa began during the pandemic, the artist says: "We walked [through the cemeteries in Queens County], and I was re-awakened to the silent beauty of the world around me. Spring came, possibly more bountiful and beautiful than any time before. I began to paint in the cemeteries nearby and in my own front yard. I was thinking about the flow and ebb of time; the rhythm and movement of time. I wanted the movement to be captured in the work and in the making of the work—the hum of the cicada, the budding and blooming of the rose, the constant restless trembling of the leaves on the trees."
Lumin Wakoa uses observation and imagination in equal measure to produce lush and vivid landscape paintings that are both psychological and symbolic. The artist employs textured brushstrokes to build up layers of paint in compositions that shift between abstraction and representation. Wakoa’s work is grounded in the tradition of plein air painting—or working outside the studio to directly observe subjects—while drawing influence from early American modernist painters, such as Charles Burchfield, Marsden Hartley, John Marin and Georgia O’Keefe.
Lumin Wakoa was born in Tallahassee, Florida. The artist received an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island in 2010 and a BFA from the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida in 2005.
Solo and two-person exhibitions of Wakoa’s work have taken place at: Deanna Evans Projects in New York City (2022, 2018); George Gallery in Brooklyn, New York (2019); Present Company in Brooklyn, New York (2017); Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island (2013); and Reynolds Gallery in Richmond, Virginia (2011).
Group exhibitions that have shown Wakoa’s work have taken place at: Hesse Flatow in New York City (2021); Harpers Gallery in Los Angeles, California (2021); James Fuentes in New York City (2020); Spring Break Art Fair in New York City (2018); Taymour Grahne Gallery in New York City (2017); and Untitled Art Fair in Miami, Florida (2015); among other venues.
Wakoa was a recipient of the Dedalus Foundation MFA Grant in 2010, and was a Fountainhead Fellow at Virginia Commonwealth University from 2010–2011.
In 2013, Wakoa was the recipient of a CUNY Adjunct Professional Development Grant. In 2018, the artist was a recipient of the Sharpe Walentas Foundation year-long Studio Program Fellowship.
Wakoa lives and works in Queens, New York, and works as an adjunct professor in the Art Department at Westchester Community College and Queensborough Community College.
This lush and vivid landscape painting shifts between abstraction and representation, as well as the psychological and symbolic. The artist included the skeleton in the composition as a way to comment on mortality and the passage of time.More