It’s from the light that we are found, blessed and guided
LGDR is pleased to present It’s from the light that we are found, blessed and guided, American artist Amani Lewis’s first solo exhibition in Europe. Opening in Paris on October 17, the show unveils a series of 12 new mixed media paintings that depict the artist’s close friends, family, and loved ones in prismatic compositions. These large-scale portraits mark the final installment of Lewis’s community-focused body of work, ongoing since the beginning of their career.
Born in Maryland in 1994, Lewis studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art, receiving their BFA in 2016. Currently, the non-binary artist lives and works in Miami. At the core of Lewis’s practice is a portrayal of the communities that are close to them within these two locales—persons who they describe as “pillars” and who have significantly impacted their life, worldview, and spiritual journey. Their intricate works come to life through a distinct process that involves photography, digital collage, painting, screen printing, and the artist’s signature application of glitter. Deeply personal, Lewis’s work investigates the importance of community, expressions of spirituality, and relationships between urban life and nature.
It’s from the light that we are found, blessed and guided is Lewis’s response to the instability of a period marked by tumult and tragedy—relating to the global pandemic, gun violence, racism, and human rights atrocities. Actively rebutting the divisiveness of our current moment, their work demonstrates a steadfast commitment to collectivity and the need to establish roots in the face of cultural and political upheaval.
Centering people of color in their work, Lewis seeks to address preconceptions surrounding Blackness and to subvert entrenched notions of historically oppressed communities. The artist employs a vivid palette to encase their subjects amongst abstract color fields and scintillating backdrops, echoing the sense of safety that Lewis finds within their community and reflecting the need to protect and feel protected. Lewis has said: “I’m thinking about folks who I’m scared of losing. You don’t want to lose them—you want to memorialize them in a work—in my work, specifically. So, even if I did lose them, I know that I have them forever in this piece.”
Among the subjects pictured are Lewis’s partner Gabby, cousin Ethan, and friend and local Miami gallerist Jumaane N’Namdi. At the center of the exhibition is a large-scale triptych titled Rico among the blossoms (2021–22), which features the artist’s close friend Rico within an opulent floral landscape. Lush vegetation can be seen throughout the series, juxtaposed with the textures and geometries of modern cityscapes. This interplay between environment and figure finds echoes in the work of David Hockney and Henry Taylor, and, when approaching their subjects, Lewis takes inspiration from Gordon Parks, drawing on how the photographer elevated Black people—capturing the joys and intimacies of everyday life rather than portraying violence and oppression. Ostensibly figurative, their new paintings nonetheless tend towards abstraction, Lewis’s self-declared “first love.” The scenes are constructed with an emphasis on shape and color, reflecting the influence of Mark Rothko, Brice Marden, and Franz Kline. Showcasing their renewed engagement with brushwork and the physical act of painting, the works in It’s from the light that we are found, blessed and guided demonstrate a powerful synthesis of Lewis’s formal mastery and intuitive practice.