Thursday, February 28, 2019

'In Lieu of a Louder Love' Swells the Heart

On Single Awareness Day, Valentine's Day for most, I strolled through both Jack Shainman Gallery locations to immerse into Lynnette Yiadom-Boakye's latest paintings, romantically titled "In Lieu of a Louder Love." It is easy to lose self in these beautiful, large and medium scale works that contain slender, graceful bodies in various moods and movements, as fluid and beguiling as tender poems drawing their stanza lines between endearing affection and charged passion. Seduction alludes in the expressive mark making, the palette interplay, the soft, pleasing forms.

A quixotic thrill stretches from piece to piece of dark brown tones from burnt umber to sienna jarringly adjacent bright, mesmerizing colors, heightening the compositions with such an urgent, unconstrained joy. On occasion, marginalized men and women have their arms aflutter, their bodies poised and bending with limber flexibility and kinetic energy existing in various degrees of flighty movement. They are serious, candid, delighted, intense, and intuitive, sharing every emotion like film stills rapturously captured in luscious, rhythmic brushstrokes. It makes a dark brown woman walking among the paintings feel seen, feel loved in this otherwise lonely spectacle.

Yiadom-Boakye's invented characters are performative actors conducting ordinary tasks yet they're significant in their portrayal. Her visible brown bodies are eloquent dancers, keepers of pets like fine-feathered birds and joyous foxes, and hold cigarettes with sophisticated fingers. These black bohemian spirits have knowing dark eyes and contagious smiles and this charming wit about themselves. Their heads are held high and defiant and they wear their personalities like a second skin. Still, a mystery swirls around the air, a loving kind of mystery that is enthralling to behold.

Yiadom-Boakye continues to play with gender roles, letting the black men wear colors stereotypically associated with femininity. A man stares off in a thick pink scarf and another man lets an owl span out its wings affixed to his hand.

Although "In Lieu of a Louder Love" is gone from the white walls of New York City, the remains of its enchanting aesthetics and undeniably breathtaking take on blackness stay inside the beating heart of a painter in love with images of herself told by a painter that looks like her-- deep brown, bespectacled, and kinky haired.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Cheesy Polenta With Pan Seared Tempeh

Cheesy polenta and pan seared tempeh always makes for a lovely, humble beginning in the morning. 

I love a good simple breakfast.
For the past few weeks, I have been creating little bowls of comfort food in this strange weather that hops from cold to warm. Polenta is a primary staple, usually boiled water and a modest helping of Bob's Red Mill Cornmeal does the trick just nicely. It's all about pouring and stirring at the right moment, keeping the lumps at bay.
Cheesy "grits" or cheesy polenta is very easy to make and super quick. I have been enjoying the Violife Cheddar. It melts beautifully and tastes exceptional. Plus, it was on sale at Mom's Organic Market. I love a good vegan cheese sale. The fried tempeh with a pinch of fennel seed is such a pleasant addition, adding crispy texture and flavor (thanks to my favorite spice blend-- berbere).
Overall, a great start to the day, especially delicious and beneficial with a banana peanut butter smoothie.

Cheesy Polenta With Pan Seared Tempeh Ingredients and Preparation

1 1/2 cup water
1 cup Bob's Red Mill Cornmeal
2 slices Violife Just Like Cheddar
3 tablespoon nutritional yeast
2 tablespoon olive oil (or vegan butter)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup red onion
2 garlic cloves
1 8oz package tempeh, chopped
1 teaspoon berbere spice
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Bring water to a boil.
Add the cornmeal, stirring simultaneously.
Turn off heat and add cheddar, nutritional yeast, olive oil, turmeric, salt, and black pepper.
In a skillet, saute onions and garlic for about three to four minutes.
Add cubed tempeh, berbere spice, fennel seed, cumin, salt, and black pepper.
Sear until tempeh is browned on all sides.