Critically acclaimed artist Kenseth Armstead will present his first solo exhibition, Spook™: INVOCATION at the gallery LMAKprojects on June 23rd, 2011. He invites the viewer to join him in ambitiously inserting a Founding Father into the pantheon of heroes traditionally celebrated over the July 4th holiday.
Spook™: INVOCATION shares and celebrates the life of historical figure James Armistead Lafayette, a slave, turned spy, who provided intelligence to help end the American Revolution. Armstead specifically focuses on the year of 1781, when James was successfully working as a double agent for America’s first Director of Central Intelligence, George Washington.
After extensive historical research, Armstead re-tells the story of James Armistead Lafayette through the contemporary portal of the Graphic Novel Format. The exhibition Spook™: INVOCATION will be comprised of thirty works, hand drawn images, taken from three months in the spying life of James, from his first mission for George Washington, under the command of the Marquis Lafayette, to his dangerous compact with the most feared British General, Lord Charles Cornwallis. This re-mixed take on the story, forces the viewer to examine whether all of our history has been told. James, a lost hero, is drawn in context, for the first time, as a fully realized character.
A true multimedia artist, Armstead traded in his digital video-editing suite in favor of graphite pencils and paper for this project. Utilizing traditional drawing techniques, the works in Spook™: INVOCATION range from detailed close ups, based on historical 18th century portraiture of the main characters, to the use of the likeness of Jamie Foxx as the spy James, or large scale, rough hewn battle scenes that viscerally channel the brutality of war.
“James Armistead Lafayette is an exciting character in the American Revolution. He’s falls somewhere between James bond, an often conflicted spy, and Maximus the Gladiator, a slave who fights to preserve the lofty goals of a growing empire.” Kenseth Armstead _ Opening on June 23rd, 2011 Spook™: INVOCATION will be on view through August 1st, 2011. Located in the heart of the Lower East Side, LMAKprojects, 139 Eldridge Street, is open Monday through Friday from 11am till 6 pm and by appointment.