Working across mediums, Titus Kaphar (born 1976) utilizes deconstructive techniques such as cutting, shredding, stitching, binding, and erasing to confront the scarcity or subversion of Black figures in traditional Western art and address societal concerns such as the legacy of slavery in the United States and the confluence of racial injustice and protest.
Analogous Colors, Titus Kaphar's first work with Two Palms, portrays a woman whose face depicts a mixture of tenderness and worry as she pulls a child to her chest. Except the child is a void, cut from the work so the silhouette reveals the frame behind. An empty space where a body should be, laying bare the anxieties and horrors of raising a Black child in America. The image is a cropped version from a painting of the same title that the artist exhibited in his show From A Tropical Space at Gagosian Gallery in 2020. The painting was the cover of TIME Magazine’s June 15th, 2020 issue reporting on the death of George Floyd and the subsequent nationwide protests. Cropping the work draws the viewer deeper into the woman’s expression and heightens the emptiness of the missing child.
Kaphar has held solo exhibitions at The Studio Museum in Harlem, MoMA PS1, MASS MoCA, The Brooklyn Museum, and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, among others. His work is in the collections of many institutions including the Brooklyn Musuem; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR; Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Pérez Art Museum, Miami; and Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven. Additionally, Kaphar was a recipient of the 2018 MacArthur Genius Grant; a 2018 Art for Justice Fund grant; a 2016 Robert R. Rauschenberg Artist as Activist grant; and a 2015 Creative Capital grant.
Kaphar is the one of the founders of NXTHVN, a non-profit in New Haven, which aims to provide a more equitable national arts model. NXTHVN creates access to educational and professional resources for the arts by offering fellowships, residencies, and various professional development opportunities for artists, curators and students.