Kevin Xiques creates lyrical, multi-layered abstractions that dance with the marks of his brush. A self-taught artist, he approaches the canvas intuitively, responding to his emotions and being guided by the painting process. He has an innate sense of color. His palette ranges from delicate veils of pinks, corals, and light blue to intense hues of cobalt, ultramarine, khaki green, and signal orange. Using a variety of brushes and mark-making tools, his lively surfaces bear evidence of his hand. Composed of differently textured lines and shapes that weave and intertwine with deliberate splashes and drips, sweeping strokes, and shuddering fans of color. In several recent works, patches of the canvas are left bare, and shapes extend past the edges. Xiques began painting in December 2020 and is now completely immersed in his practice; it is a language he feels at home in and finds liberating. He says, “My paintings are the manifestation of the freedom I have gained, and the freedom I am hoping every individual will come to realize.”

Kevin Xiques received a BA in Philosophy with a minor in Film and Television Studies from the University of Vermont. He currently lives and works in Portland, Maine. He received a 2023 David C. Driskell Fellowship and Black Seed Studio Residency at Indigo Arts Alliance in Portland and was awarded a SPACE Gallery Studio Grant for 2022-2023. His works have been shown in several group exhibitions in Maine and New Hampshire, most recently in the exhibition Euphoria at Alice Gauvin Gallery, Portland.

Artist Statement

My work is a representation of my escape from the metaphorical box I spent my childhood in. I grew up in a rural town in Vermont as one of the only people of color. I was frequently singled out for being one of the few black people in my school and was known for being “slower” because of my dyslexia and slow processing speed. It was extremely difficult for my mind to follow conventional methods of learning, and I struggled in educational settings that demanded a standardized approach.

My art is the liberation of my mind. I am allowing myself to embrace my own way of processing things and to forget about any normalcy I "should be” taking part in. There is no planning behind any of my pieces, only guidance from my present emotions. I make each mark as an intuitive response to the relative state of the canvas. My color palettes are created in the moment; no combination of colors is off limits.

This process is my therapy and a commitment to honoring my mind and the way it thinks. My paintings are the manifestation of the freedom I have gained and the freedom I am hoping every individual will come to realize. As long as we are not doing harm to others, there is no right or wrong way to think or act. My work celebrates freedom of thought and represents emancipation from the status quo.

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