Manifest at Oscar Molina Gallery - 27 East

Arts & Living

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Manifest at Oscar Molina Gallery

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Demarcus McGaughey

Demarcus McGaughey "Ambassador of Harlem," 48" x 36." COURTESY THE ARTIST AND OSCAR MOLINA GALLERY

Demarcus McGaughey

Demarcus McGaughey "Breakfast At Tiffanys," 2020. Acrylic on canvas, 36" x 48" x 1.5." COURTESY OSCAR MOLINA GALLERY

UncuttART

UncuttART "Heartbeat of The City," 2020. Acrylic and spray paint on canvas, 24" x 30." COURTESY OSCAR MOLINA GALLERY

authorStaff Writer on Jan 25, 2023

Oscar Molina Gallery in Southampton opens “Manifest,” a two-person exhibition conceived by Esperanza León and Mago and featuring mixed-media works by Demarcus McGaughey and paintings by UncuttArt. The show runs January 27 through March 5, and an opening reception and artist talk will take place with Uncutt on Sunday, February 5, from 2 to 4 p.m. An artist talk with Demarcus McCaughey will follow on Saturday, February 18, from 5 to 7 p.m.

McGaughey and UncuttArt have succeeded as artists and creative collaborators at a global level. They endeavor to make art that creates connection with and understanding of themselves and others; art that is intended to cultivate the awareness, appreciation, and actualization that help humans persist in an ever-changing world.

The enigmatic UncuttArt has specialized in creating independent public art, custom apparel and art that raises frequencies. His projects and collaborations have included developing a line of artistically inspired sneakers sold in over 300 retail outlets and collaborating with Wycleff Jean, Madonna, Jamie Foxx, Sean Paul and Nelly, among others. In 2018 UncuttArt collaborated with the Andy Warhol estate and museum to design the album cover for Third Eye Blind. In 2019 he became a cast member for the second season of the hit Netflix series “She’s Gotta Have It,” directed by Spike Lee.

UncuttArt changed his life with what he calls a “SelfLove” journey that began in 2009. He arrived at a milestone in his artistic evolution in 2014 when during the creation of a wall mural he decided to spray-paint on a sidewalk. He describes, “And the thing about it is that when it is on the floor, it sneaks up on you.” Building on that discovery, in 2016 he launched his signature work and the moniker of his movement, ProtectYoHeART. He has spray-painted this meaningful phrase along with other text and colorful imagery, including his upside-down, spiked, radiant heart, around major U.S. cities including Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Atlanta. A tag line for self-care that echoes Proverb 4:23, which advises, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it,” the phrase has been adopted and repeated by countless people to the point of going viral; used by celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Miranda Lambert, and on social media worldwide. ProtectYoHeART has evolved into an annual, worldwide celebration, artistic activations and healing retreats led by the artist. With the selection of paintings in this exhibition, UncuttArt takes his universal message and imagery from the street to the canvas.

Demarcus McGaughey, a creative director, graphic designer and mixed-media artist, has had a 20-year career in which he has worked to develop print design, corporate identity and interactive media with a range of clients and collaborators, from Beyoncé to beverage giant Dr. Pepper. Combining painting, photography and graphic design with paper and fabric collage in his artwork, McGaughey has aimed to tell stories that capture, “the beauty, strength, and vibrancy of people of color.” He has been highlighted in magazines and galleries in New York, Texas and Spain and has completed residencies in Barcelona, Brooklyn, Harlem and, most recently, in Southampton at Ma’s House.

In a style and genre that alludes to the pop elements of Andy Warhol, the monumentality of Kehinde Wiley and the coolness of Barkley L. Hendricks, McGaughey treats his subjects with curiosity and empathy, portraying them as heroes of their life journeys toward self-determination. In addition to exploring the psyche and telling the story of every individual, McGaughey experiments with formal elements, composition and technique. These aspects deserve equal attention for the weight and dimension they add to the artist’s striking representations that strive to reveal triumphant tales of African American subjects who have manifested their destiny.

Black history is a lesson in determination and endurance. Through distinctively vibrant and vital artistic languages, Demarcus McGaughey and UncuttArt represent the powerful will to persist, the passionate aim to preserve self, identity and culture in the face of relentless change.

Oscar Molina Gallery is at 28c Jobs Lane, Southampton. For details, visit oscarmolinagallery.com.

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