Abigail Albano-Payton

Me, Myself...You

curated by Shannyn Schack

  oil on canvas
36 x 40 in. 

Straight Lick is proud to present its first exhibition with Abigail Albano-Payton: Me, Myself… You Albano-Payton uses her art as a tool for discussion of those that are often dismissed. Taking Nina Simone’s quote, “An artist’s duty is to reflect the times” as a call to action, she seeks to depict the contemporary moment in a truthful and distinctly candid way.

From a young age, she realized the importance that representation, or lack thereof, has in society and how those depictions can affect generations. Her work explores depictions of People of Color, with a focus on the Black community, and seeks to dismantle and repair our preconceived notions of them.

Her visual language consists of intimate moments of love and self-exploration as both she and the subjects consider themes of race, gender, and the intrinsic value of the human experience. In “Barbershop,” a trip to the barber issues a challenge to the viewer to revisit their assumptions and perceptions of Black hair and the natural hair movement while imbuing the scene with an unmistakable love and appreciation for her community. She articulates both the meticulous thought of the barber as he focuses on the job at hand and the genuine care and sense of camaraderie so commonly found in Black barber shops. 

With portraiture, Albano-Payton deftly combines figuration with backgrounds that extends into the realm of the abstract. In “Kaelon,” she captures a young man in a moment of flux as he grapples with not only his natural hair journey, but also how he perceives and expresses his own sexuality. He gazes directly at the viewer with a vulnerability and a fearlessness only youth can have. The background lies unfinished; Albano-Payton affords Kaelon to finish his own story, something society rarely gives a young Black man the chance to do.

The culmination of the show is “Path to Resilience,” a masterwork that deals with themes of traditions, family and, of course, hair. Portraying a pair of sisters combing out their hair in front of the television, this small moment of Black love perfectly summarizes how she wants to recharacterize depictions of Black people in art - two humans, sharing the human experience, passing on traditions and history in the form of a braid. The quiet contentment of Albano-Payton’s scene is reminiscent of Vermeer’s work, calling to mind the beloved scenes of the everyday that solidified their places in art history.

 oil, construction paper, colored prisma pencil, charcoal on wood.
46 x 40 in.

The Big Chop
 oil, construction paper, charcoal on wood.
30 x 24 in.

Path to Resilience
 oil, collage paper on canvas
36 x 48 in.

Abigail Albano-Payton (b. 1999 in Chicago) Lives and works in Laguna Beach, CA. Shannyn Schack was raised in Malibu, CA, and aspires to be an art dealer. She is a recent graduate of Boston University, and in January 2021 began attending Sotheby's Institute London to complete an MA in Art Business.

Ain’t Complying // Intertwine
oil, magazine paper, prisma colored pencil on wood

36 x 48 in.

For inquiries, please contact: info@straightlick.com
Artist: Abigail Albano-Payton ︎︎
Curator: Shannyn Schack ︎ 

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