EXHIBITOR Reuben Cheatem

Reuben Cheatem is a lifelong visual artist based in and working between Dallas, Texas and New Orleans, Louisiana. He received his B.F.A. from the University of Kansas in 2003, majoring in painting with a minor in psychology.

B.L.A.C.K.

Believing Love’s Actual Capabilities Keep

With this body of work, Cheatem attests that what it means to be a black person is to have an unwavering sense of optimism and faith through whatever and to live in the notion of we-gone-be-alright. Paraphrasing the title acronym B.L.A.C.K., we’re continually struggling through holding fast to the idea that the power of love conquers all and never fades or weakens. Pulling from childhood memories of persons known and imagined, his depictions of characters exude strength in spite of perceived normalcy. Cheatem cites the use of exaggerating the mouth and lips as focal points in otherwise vacuous forms as a response to the psychological impact of the coronavirus pandemic of the two previous years, with most people encountering each other wearing masks and mouth coverings.

Reuben Cheatem is a lifelong visual artist based in and working between Dallas, Texas and New Orleans, Louisiana. He received his B.F.A. from the University of Kansas in 2003, majoring in painting with a minor in psychology. He cites his extensive studies in life drawing with emphasis on heads and hands as most influential on his current painting style and preferences. His work is primarily figurative and being that he has a fondness for the narrative of skin textures, his acrylic portraits are most often large scale with faces dominating the composition. Moreover, although Cheatem paints his subjects with photographic realism, he uses hard-edged fragmentation and stripes to create an element of abstraction in many of his paintings, employing the law of simultaneous color contrast to create a feel of movement and change. Ironically, his biggest artistic influences are those who focus primarily with color like Piet Mondrian and Mark Rothko, rather than those whose work is figurative and representational like his own. Cheatem’s art resides in various public and private collections and has been featured in group exhibitions along with two solo shows in New Orleans, “Immersion” (2017), and “Solo and Behold” (2018).