Khari

Turner

Khari Turner, born 1991, Milwaukee, lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. 

“I paint because of my understanding of my identity and history, recovering the air of a story. I imagine the personifications of the magic that is water. I use water from oceans, lakes, and rivers from places that have either a historical or personal connection to Black people -- water that I collect to mix with and pour onto my paintings. My paintings and drawings combine abstraction with realistic renderings of Black noses and lips to investigate the spiritual and physical record to my ancestor’s relationships with water. The average body is made up of 60% water, the same water in these ethereal beings that inhabit the work. All the water on this earth is the same water that has always been on this earth. The knowledge water holds is in all of us, and the realization that we share this water is my focus. My work is constantly evolving, absorbing water and history as a material, painting to bring the stories of elegance and chaos that comes with this existence.

I paint to create a deeper connection to my identity and history as a Black American. Metaphorically, I see Black people as personifications of the magic that is the ocean. My paintings and drawings combine abstraction with realistic renderings of Black noses and lips to rejuvenate the relationship of my history to my ancestor’s history with water. I use water from oceans, lakes, and rivers from places that have either a historical or personal connection to black history -- water that I collect to mix with and pour onto my paintings. My focus is to create a direct relationship to my emotions and understanding of my past, a journey of spiritual connection. I focus on Black history to celebrate my ancestors for surviving the challenges they faced, not to display their pain. I paint to bring the stories and histories with images holding an elegance and chaos that comes with this existence.” - Khari Turner

A 2021 Columbia MFA graduate Turner has received over 13 scholarships including the Shops Fellowship (Columbia University) and has participated in numerous group & solo shows since 2017

In 2022 he had first international presentation in Venice during the Venice Biennale, his first museum solo at the Museum of Wisconsin Art, which was followed by a sold out show at CFHILL in Stockholm and a solo at FRIEZE Cork St galleries June 2023. His second museum show was at the Texas State Galleries this year and his next institutional presentation is at the Wallhouse Museum in St.Barths 2025. 

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