Michaela Yearwood-Dan

Michaela Yearwood-Dan’s (b. 1994; London, UK) work reflects on subjectivity and individual identity as forms of self-determination. Whilst her work may be underpinned by an expansive and multivalent repertoire of cultural signifiers borrowing freely from Blackness, healing rituals, flora, texting, acrylic-nails, gold-hoops, carnival culture, they enable her to present and privilege the variance of her own individual experience. As such, her work refuses to be framed by narrow expectations of racial or gendered notions of collective identity and history. She defamiliarizes many of these reference points in her paintings resisting the clichés and strictures of representation. While the artist is perhaps best known for her lush, abstract paintings, she works with equal fluency in clay, often incorporating elements of her singular visual language—swirling, gestural brushstrokes, botanical motifs, and handwritten, diaristic meditations—into her ceramic works. Yearwood- Dan began working with clay in 2020, teaching herself to hand build pots in her London flat during Covid-19 lockdown. She began producing vessels, vases, and planters that are defined, in part, by their insistent handmadeness. Irregularities in the surfaces and handles and lips of these functional objects serve as evidence of their materiality—and of the artist’s hands at work. The glaze is applied in a painterly manner, evoking her well known paintings.

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