In his first West Coast solo exhibition, Virginia native Corey Pemberton’s new show ‘home/body’ is a vibrant collection of mixed-media portrait paintings. Capturing people that he knows while in a domestic setting, Pemberton paints them during those private moments where they feel comfort in their safe space. His subjects are “people in his life whose bodies and identities fall outside of the traditional raced, gendered, and sexualized boundaries of ordinariness.”
The colorful mixed-media backgrounds are among the various subjects, who pose with relaxation, confidence, and sometimes even express laughter. It is the natural effect of being at home: the place that brings us comfort and the freedom to be our most authentic self. Pemberton captures his subjects’ home setting as they are, with books on the nightstand, a hat here, a glass of wine there, and every patterned wallpaper, bedding, or rug is incorporated in the artist’s own style.
“In bodily gesture or clothing thrown over a chair, books on a nightstand or art on the walls, the viewer is invited to know these subjects and, in so knowing, to see that their comfort, their solitude, their joy, their yearning, is not so different than one’s own,” says the exhibition’s statement. “In these moments lie the possibility of transformation that powers Pemberton’s work—a hopefulness that, like the work itself, is anything but ordinary.”
Pemberton now lives and works in Los Angeles. He has previously had solo exhibitions at The Contemporary Art Museum in Raleigh, NC, and at Blue Spiral 1 in Asheville, NC. ‘home/body’ is presented at UNREPD in Los Angeles, a new contemporary art gallery whose mission is to offer a diverse range of artists to show their work, especially those who identify as female, BIPOC, or non-binary.
‘home/body’ is on view from September 18th to October 18th, 2021. Stay up to date with Pemberton by following him on Instagram.