Press

2024

publication logo

The Dallas Morning News

When You See Me: Visibility in Contemporary Art/History

Dallasnews.com

- Sun Apr 07 2024

Explore the complexities of visibility in our latest exhibition, When You See Me: Visibility in Contemporary Art/History. The exhibition aims to broaden and complicate official histories and their corresponding visual strategies to allow for richer representations of those who have been traditionally excluded or erased. 

2023

publication logo

Elephant Magazine #47

Wangari Mathenge - ISSN NUMBER 1879-3835

Alejandro Oliva

- Mon Sep 25 2023

Elephant features an in-depth article on painter Wangari Mathenge. "For Mathenge, the authenticity of her subjects, the interiors they populate, is more about making a mark in the historical record: this is what it looks like to be a Black Kenyan woman, or a Black Kenyan family, living in a home in Chicago or London or Kenya.”

publication logo

Financial Times

Where The Art Feels Like Home

Aimee Farrell

- Thu Sep 14 2023

A trip back to her childhood home in Hampstead Garden Suburb in 2016 inspired some thrilling new work. She recreated her Hampstead sitting room in forensic detail. Carefully piecing together photographs, memories, and conversations, this time-capsule interior was about as true to the original as it’s possible to be – from the doilies that cover the chairs to the Jungle Book viewfinder on the side table, and her parents’ ABBA and Cliff Richard records. 

publication logo

Art & Cake Magazine

Wangari Mathenge at Roberts Projects

Eve Wood

- Sat May 20 2023

The Tidal Wave of Colours and the eight luminous paintings that comprise her first major solo exhibition in the United States at Roberts Projects represent both an actualization of her desire to become an artist and a means by which she synthesizes and reinterprets artworks that have inspired her creative process.

publication logo

Cultured Magazine

Wangari Mathenge Was a Lawyer. Now, She’s Making Her U.S. Solo Debut at Roberts Projects.

Melissa Smith

- Fri Apr 21 2023

The painter left a lucrative career as an attorney to become an artist. Four years later, ahead of the opening “Tidal Wave of Colour,” she has no regrets

publication logo

Juxtapoz Magazine

Wangari Mathenge and a Tidal Wave of Colour

Jewels Dodson

- Wed Apr 19 2023

Tidal Wave of Colour is an ode to the art and the artists that served as an inspiration to Mathenge in her development as an artist, from individual ideas to larger movements. It is as a student learning an all-encompassing encyclopedia of works, viewed through the lens of race, class, and geography, that she connected with art in a way that was deeper, and more realized.

2022

publication logo

Pippy Houldsworth Gallery-Art Basel

After Eight

- Thu Dec 15 2022

While Wangari Mathenge fills her paintings with relatable figures, her colorful canvases exceed the individuating focus of portraiture: they depict people as wholly integral to their settings. In After Eight (There Is A Moment, Fleeting, When One Returns To Self And Feels, As if For The First Time, Alive) (2022), a lived-in corporeality is apparent in the lushly tactile oils that make up a quietly charged scene of a couple reclining in bed.

publication logo

Ocula

A Century of Black Figuration Across Black, African, and Intra-African Art Histories

Emmanuel Balogun

- Wed Nov 30 2022

When We See Us: A Century of Black Figuration in Painting at Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town (20 November 2022–3 September 2023) sutures a globally diversified legion of Black, African, and African diaspora artists through an age-old measure: time. The exhibition's curators, Koyo Kouoh and Tandazani Dhlakama have gathered works by 154 artists, loaned from over 70 locations, to create a historical continuum of geographically diffused artistic movements and painterly traditions that articulate the many iterations of Black life.

publication logo

Artsy

Wangari Mathenge Named Artsy Vanguard 202

Jewels Dodson

- Tue Nov 15 2022

After The Break (2022), a painting by artist Wangari Mathenge, takes us inside a home, where a person appears before an upholstered chair and ottoman covered in a tropical leaf pattern. The space is accented by actual flora—raspberry tiger lilies and kelly green lemongrass—along with a teacup and a clementine. The subject, most likely a woman, is stretched over the ottoman, legs and head not pictured, but presumed to be dangling. The body language hits a familiar nerve; they’re either in distress or taking respite amid struggle.

publication logo

Ilex Press

African Art Now ( Book)

Osei Bonsu

- Tue Oct 18 2022

Over the past two decades contemporary African art has taken its rightful place on the world stage. Today, African artists work outside the confines of limiting categories and outdated perceptions; they produce art that is as much a reflection of Africa’s tumultuous past as it is a vision of its boundless future.

publication logo

Phaidon Press Limited

Great Women Painters (Book)

Alison M. Gingeras

- Thu Oct 06 2022

Great Women Painters is a groundbreaking book that reveals a richer and more varied telling of the story of painting. Featuring more than 300 artists from around the world, it includes both well-known women painters from history and today's most exciting rising stars.

publication logo

Vogue Italia

Wangari Mathenge in Mostra a Milano

- Fri Sep 30 2022

publication logo

Monica De Cardenas

Perspective

Monica De Cardenas

- Thu Sep 22 2022

Perspectives, the first solo show by Wangari Mathenge in Italy. The artist creates powerful large-scale paintings confronting issues regarding the visibility of the black female in the context of both the traditional African patriarchal society and the Diaspora.

publication logo

Nasher Museum at Duke University

The Power of Portraiture

- Mon May 23 2022

Relocation, acculturation, displacement, and specifically how these concepts relate to the diasporic African experience are central to the work of Kenyan-born, Chicago-based artist Wangari Mathenge. In her series "The Ascendants", Mathenge is less interested in capturing individual likenesses and instead attempts to render the complexity of identity and aspects of life for Africans living abroad in large interior scenes.

2021

publication logo

Faith For Justice

Christmas Week 2

- Sat Dec 25 2021

Wangari Mathenge - THE ASCENDANTS V (INTERCESSORY PRAYER)

publication logo

The Black Portraits - Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA & Spellman College GA

Oh To Wander (Wonder What She’ll See When She Sees)

- Sun Nov 07 2021

Featuring Wangari Mathenge, Otis Kwame Kye Quiacoe, Betye Saar and Kehinde Wiley. To complement the presentation of The Obama Portraits by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald on tour from the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery (NPG), LACMA presents Black American Portraits. Remembering Two Centuries of Black American Art, guest curated by David Driskell at LACMA 45 years ago, this exhibition reframes portraiture to center Black American subjects, sitters, and spaces.

publication logo

Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo

Stretching The Body Featuring Wangari Mathenge

- Fri Nov 05 2021

The Stretching the Body group exhibition brings together a group of thirteen women artists from different generations and geographical origins, who through the medium of painting reflect on the genre of portraiture and the theme of the human figure.

publication logo

Financial Times

The Ascendants: A Short Story

Ayobami Adebayo

- Fri Oct 29 2021

After The Break (2022), a painting by artist Wangari Mathenge takes us inside a home, where a person appears before an upholstered chair and ottoman covered in a tropical leaf pattern. The space is accented by actual flora—raspberry tiger lilies and kelly green lemongrass—along with a teacup and a clementine. The subject, most likely a woman, is stretched over the ottoman, legs and head not pictured, but presumed to be dangling. The body language hits a familiar nerve; they’re either in distress or taking respite amid struggle.

publication logo

Pippy Houldsworth Gallery

You Are Here

- Tue Oct 12 2021

Pippy Houldsworth Gallery presents You Are Here, the first UK solo exhibition of US-based Kenyan artist Wangari Mathenge. The exhibition draws on early memories and personal observations to address the diasporic experience of home and establishing oneself at a distance from one’s cultural origin. You Are Here also includes the artist’s first large-scale installation. This work, incorporating Mathenge’s first stop-motion animation, will invite the viewer to step into the space of her paintings.

publication logo

House and Garden

The Art Exhibitions Not to Miss this Autumn

Christabel Chubb

- Mon Oct 11 2021

The first major UK solo exhibition from the US-based Kenyan artist Wangari Mathenge will illustrate her personal experience of relocation, responding to questions of race and acculturation. In a series of large paintings titled The Ascendants (including XIII above), she depicts figures in domestic situations demonstrating the juxtaposition of relocation, along with everyday objects that serve as cultural reminders of one’s heritage. Accompanying this series will be an installation of a living space from the Seventies, which is reminiscent of the years the artist spent in London, with a vintage television playing a stop-motion animation.

publication logo

The Sunday Times Style

Six Hot Artists To Namedrop

Claire Wrathall

- Sun Oct 10 2021

Wangari Mathenge was 31 and working as a lawyer in Massachusetts when she began to take art classes. “I was always good at art,” she says. “And I thought I’d go to art school, but my parents had other ideas.” So she studied business instead, and then law, leaving Nairobi for Washington

publication logo

Apollo Magazine

Sickert’s Portraits and Hampstead Garden Suburb in the 1970s

Sophie Barling

- Thu Oct 07 2021

Like Sickert, the Chicago-based Kenyan artist Wangari Mathenge knows something about interiors and interior lives; unlike Sickert’s women, however, those in Mathenge’s explosively colourful domestic settings – replete with Kanga textiles and other signifiers of their subjects’ East African heritage – have agency, either contemplating themselves and their own thoughts or observing us, the viewer, with magnificent hauteur.

publication logo

United Nations

Wangari Mathenge: UN Women "A Force for Change"

- Tue Jul 13 2021

UN Women, the agency of the United Nations dedicated to gender equality and women’s empowerment, will host the first all-Black, all-women global selling exhibition and auction titled “A Force for Change”, with proceeds benefiting Black women across the world and the participating artists. The exhibition includes 26 works by prominent and emerging female artists of African descent to recognize and elevate awareness of the transformative power of Black women’s art in social justice movements, and to support UN Women’s nascent global Black Women’s Programme. Works by artists Cinthia Sifa Mulanga, Tschabalala Self, Sungi Mlengeya, Wangari Mathenge, Zanele Muholi, and Selly Rabe Kane are included, among many others.

publication logo

New York Times Style Magazine

How Friendship Helps Us Transcend Ourselves

Megan O’Grady

- Mon Apr 12 2021

“The Ascendants XI (Homage to Ecclesiastes Three, One Through Eight)” (2021), made exclusively for T by the Chicago-based artist Wangari Mathenge, who said: “As part of the diaspora, I’m interested in what can ease the sense of displacement. The figures here might long to step out into a different kind of world, but for now they sit in comfortable silence in a shared space they’ve created for themselves

publication logo

Financial Times

Rooms of Our Own — Art and The Inner Lives of Women

Enuma Okoro

- Sat Mar 06 2021

This past week we hit 11C in New York. It’s not exactly spring yet, but after what feels like an incredibly long winter, the slight rise in temperature was enough to get me scouring the internet for exhibitions welcoming masked visitors. I’ve been so cautious and homebound the past few months, and I’ve missed venturing out to see art in real life, up close and personal.

2020

publication logo

Pippy Houldsworth Gallery

Insight Week 6

Ming Smith

- Wed Jul 22 2020

Mathenge understands that a slight shift in perception can significantly alter the way we interact with the world around us and thus proposes that any radical action begins with the gaze, with not being afraid to "see" and perceive.

publication logo

All City Canvas

Wangari Mathenge Cuestiona La Definición Del “Expatriado”

Fernando Huacuz

- Thu May 07 2020

En su última serie, The Expats, la pintora Wangari Mathenge nos presenta una nueva serie de obras que abordan el concepto de “repatriado” desde una postura crítica, pues normalmente se asocia este concepto con los inmigrantes blancos occidentales.

publication logo

Creative Rooom

Mathenge's Latest Oil Paintings Question the Dehumanising Meaning Behind The Term 'Expats'

Katy Cowan

- Wed Apr 29 2020

Wangari Mathenge turns to history as inspiration for her oil paintings which reinterpret traditional African patriarchal society alongside her own.

publication logo

Culture Type

Wangari Mathenge's Paintings Foreground Experiences of Black Women

Victoria Valentine

- Tue Apr 14 2020

Mathenge blends the historic and the contemporary. Giving voice and context to the experiences of women, her layered scenes reflect customary African society through the lens of the current moment. Produced in 2019 and 2020, her series "The Expats" and "The Ascendents" feature women in familial scenes. The images portray non-Western migrants and explore the socioeconomic and political implications of their status. Her subjects exude pride and dignity, refusing to allow the discrimination and othering they bear to shape their identity or define their humanity.

publication logo

Artsy

10 Black Figurative Painters You Should Know

Isis Davis-Marks

- Tue Feb 11 2020

The increased visibility for black figurative painters has led to a shift in the dialogue around painting and identity and has given more black artists the opportunity to showcase their work in places where they had previously been excluded.

2019

publication logo

Riot Material

Wangari Mathenge’s Aura of Quiet

Eve Wood

- Fri Oct 25 2019

Wangari Methenge’s luminous exhibition in the project space at Roberts Projects — simply and aptly titled Aura of Quiet has only three works in it, yet each one extends a very private conversation into a public sphere, all the while maintaining a deeply intimate connection. Methenge’s silent dialogue is one of personal strength, humility, and majesty. Each of her figures demonstrates within the scope of their body language and expression, their own strategies for living, indeed for thriving in a world that appears to have gone mad.

publication logo

Art of Choice

Wangari Mathenge Analyzes the Shaping and Shifting Of Identity

Maria Vogel

- Tue Apr 16 2019

Wangari Mathenge uses art as a tool to find connection with space. Originally from Kenya, Mathenge moved to US for school which started her on her path to pursue art full time. Mathenge paints figures using bold brushstrokes that exude with emotion on the canvas. Though she draws inspiration from photographs of herself and loved ones, Mathenge does not wish to represent but rather to explore the possibilities that arise from the source. Mathenge is currently based in CA but will be moving this fall to attend The Art Institute of Chicago