Like many artists, Lynette followed her studies at Central St Martins, Falmouth College of Art and the Royal Academy Schools with part time work to support her career as an artist. In the spring of 2005 she decided to throw caution to the wind and work full time as an artist concentrating on making and selling work. She works very quickly as a means she says ‘of keeping the ideas and the work moving on’. Her work has appeared in many group exhibitions including ‘Platform for Art’ at Gloucester Road Tube Station, Bloomberg New Contemporaries in Liverpool and the Barbican, London and ‘John Moores 23’ at Liverpool Biennial.
She works both from imagination and from life, using charcoal to create studies in preparation for each painting which are normally large measuring no less than 5ft in width or height. The people in her paintings are invented, their characters created in the pose, gesture and the use of paint itself. Lynette alludes to traditions in the European history of figurative painting but that said, her intentions remain flexible through the making of each piece. The characteristics vary yet none are victims or heroes.
‘I am more concerned with power and empowerment than dolls and mannequins’ she says ‘ thus I am selective about attire and setting. Neither can afford to be overly decorative’. Of recent work including work for the recent exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery Lynette says : “I’ve been working on a series of portraits. None of them is of existing people, but they are familiar. My roll call is growing and it contains some of my favourite characters. They include grammy winners (gracious in acceptance of awards), revolutionaries, fanatics, anthropologists and missionaries (good for showing us how to live), savages (good for showing us how far we have come and how not to live), radicals and the generally angry, amongst others”.
From 19 May – 31 August 2020 Tate Britain will hold the first major survey of Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s work.
This exhibition will bring together over 80 paintings and works on paper from 2003 to the present day in the most extensive survey of the artist’s career to date.