Alteronce Gumby. A rainbow, 2017



Opening Reception: Sunday, September 24, 2017, 2-5 pm

Please RSVP to info@long.gallery

Long Gallery Harlem

2073 7th Avenue at 124th Street


It is impossible to know what future can be made out of an alabaster past so resounding, and an ebony past so maligned, but some key may be found in the palette which experiments with colors in order to discover shades, which mixes shades in order to arrive at color, or color, which, by the time one has arrived at it, and by means of this process, always bears an arbitrary and provisional name. Shades cannot be fixed; color is, eternally, at the mercy of the light.
James Baldwin, Just Above My Head (1978)


Long Gallery Harlem is pleased to present the first solo presentation of work by painter Alteronce Gumby.  The work in Reading Rainbows was created at the conclusion of his year-long residency in Paris, France. Gumby’s time in France was not unlike that of many African American artists before him providing a context and new perspective from which to process the seemingly eternal American dilemma of the color line. 

Gumby’s tonal painting challenges one’s typical quick gaze of the color spectrum and draws the viewer into an exploration of the full brilliance and saturation yet subtlety of changing hues. Textured, layered, gradient, and bold the color spectrums of Gumby’s painting defiantly reject the expected and asserts a nuanced and refreshing expression of color norms. Further, these works are consistent with Gumby’s personal practice of creating tetraptych compositions as if a single canvas using his fingers to spread paint and create his color gradations. 

In this exhibition, my work explores color as a compositional linkage between space and ideas. The light in my paintings are inspired by observing the shifting light in the night sky. From sunset to sunrise the continuous expansion of time is rendered in moments of evolving chromasia. Those hours I spent gazing at the sky, our window to the cosmos, allowed me to look beyond the tragic realities of today and begin to compose moments of peace. The intention of my tetraptych compositions is to present color as a shapeshifter. A transcendental object of shade, light and form. I want to arrange abstract paintings as both a medium of unity and a moment of individuality. Meditating beyond what I can see, in search of a more ambiguous horizon. Often I ask myself, “What does it mean to be an artist of color and make paintings about color?” There seems to be no rest for a person of color in America. The ability to recontextualize hue through abstract painting is the most emancipating act in my practice. I consider color to be more than just a hue, race, mood, shade, a mark, a line, a man, a woman, a country, a nation. It’s an amalgamation of experiences, signs, and signifiers that tell a story, my story, written and rewritten with each painting. I still don’t know what all the colors really mean, nor do I desire to, but I still enjoy reading rainbows.   - Alteronce Gumby

Reading Rainbows is on view September 24th through Sunday, October 29, 2017.

Alteronce Gumby currently lives and works in New York. He received the Robert Reed Memorial Scholarship during his MFA at the Yale School of Art. He received the AAF/Seebacher Prize for Fine Arts as well as the Dumfries House Residency in 2015. In 2017, he was artist in residence and the Harriet Hale Woolley scholar at the Fondation des Etats-Unis in Paris, France.

Reading Rainbows

BOMB Magazine Review

Art Week Review

Exhibition Closing Video