Lynette Yiadom-Boakye attended Central St Martins, London, and earned degrees from the Falmouth College of Art, Cornwall, UK, and the Royal Academy Schools, London. Her work takes the form of large-scale swagger paintings. Painted from her imagination, all the characters populating her canvases are people of colour who are positioned in environments that reference the history of landscape painting. These figures, imbued with a sense of self-possession, meet the viewer’s gaze as they bask in the limelight, or they traverse the space of their own thoughts with utter disregard for their surroundings. Subjectivity and social life are animated through Yiadom-Boakye’s exploration of light, shadow and space.
The summer before her work was shown at Sharjah Biennial 12 (2015), the artist participated in a residency at Sharjah Art Foundation, observing and sketching aspects of the landscape, creek, port and heritage architecture at different times of day. Although not originally created for the Foundation, Lie to Me (2019) continues her dialogue with the formal and conceptual concerns she considered during her residency in Sharjah. The diptych, an unusual format for the artist, foregrounds a man and a woman, both dressed in a white shirt and dark trousers, who seem to occupy a similar psychological space. Although the two figures face one another, each appears either unaware of the other’s presence or secure in the knowledge that the other is close at hand.