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[Don't] Wake Up

Original Work by Kamoy Smalling
72 x 72 in. (191.4 x 191.4 cm.)
  • Description
  • Description

    Oil on canvas, 2023.

    Artist's note "In [Don’t] Wake Up, Kamoy introduces the idea of the duality of identity as explored within the Platonic framework of anamnesis. On a luxurious, vacation-home-style balcony set against bright hues and a calm sea, we find the applehead in two simultaneous moments of existence – reclining at ease and hanging in distress. The two figures are positioned on a diagonal, relatively close to one another and inhabiting the same space. This positioning speaks to the ease with which one oscillates between different incarnations of the self. These conflicting manifestations of being coexist and are never quite lost – while one is brought to consciousness, the other remains latently there within. The piece borrows Gustave Caillebotte’s use of perspective to shroud the painting with a sense of infinite possibility as one turns inward to confront the true knowledge of being."

    Meet the Artist

    Kamoy Smalling

    Kamoy (Kamoy Smalling, b. 1988, Bronx, NY): Kamoy creates oil paintings, drawings, films and installations that explore the human psychological terrain by showcasing moments of internal conflict, release, and reconciliation. Her haunting, yet inviting compositions often use avatars and dark humor to investigate the construction and deconstruction of the self through the lenses of race, femininity, and otherness.

    Raised in a conservative, insular religious community and bred in the orthodoxy of capitalistic infatuation, the New York-born artist’s works are heavily inspired by her journey and oscillation between identity portals and ways of being. Common themes examined include dynamic nominalism, the fluidity of identity, the fabrication of authenticity, and the juxtaposition of normalized notions of success and inadequacy.

    Self-taught, kamoy’s pieces seek to offer viewers a respite from the trite norms of categorical being. kamoy completed her undergraduate studies in Psychology and the History of Science from Harvard University before receiving her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.


    Kamoy Smalling