Barkley Hendricks is widely known for his large scale portraits of people he knows. In a style that blends photorealism with pop sensibilities, Hendricks captures the individual personalities and auras of his revered subjects while introducing issues of race, gender and identity. Hendricks creates complex portraits that elevate ordinary humans to sacred beings. He invites viewers to look and to really see his subjects while at the same time his models seem to look right back. This early painting, Stanley, was executed when Barkley Hendricks was 26 and attending Yale University in New Haven.
There's an area of illusion that if you work with the figure - work pretty close to life scale - it moves you a little bit closer to the feel that there's an interaction between the spectator and the work. If you get too large, if you get too billboardish, it becomes something that dwarfs the spectator who's looking, and if you get too small, you get into a kind of miniature feel, and you really dwarf that. So there's an interaction that I want to have with the spectator, and using the human scale I think makes that point a little better for me.