Malik Roberts is known for his striking portraits, inspired by masters like Picasso (more specifically, Picasso’s Blue Period), Caravaggio, and Francis Bacon. His work – deconstructed, leaning towards cubism – provides a shattered image of the world around us.
“I am taking my work very seriously,” admitted Roberts in an interview with Paper Magazine, “I want my work to be as serious as I am,” he stressed. “My last show was about cultural appropriation, so this one is just another important topic of conversation. That’s why I even changed the color palette, even though I loved the palette, I thought it was too bubblegum. I wanted to pull it back a little bit. I wanted to challenge myself.”
While his style echos that of modern painters, his paintings are undeniably contemporary. Relying on images and conventions recognizable from the media, Roberts reframes his appropriated source material to reveal the absurdity of everyday life.
His sophisticated compositions provoke engagement, inviting the viewer to consider the impact of visual media on the consumption of ideas in the Digital Age. They also call to mind questions about the complicated ways in which we form our identity this day and age – a messy assortment of cultures and references. Take a careful look: