The Opulent Blerd
January 22 - April 17, 2022
Raised in The Bahamas, Los Angeles-based artist April Bey provides reflective and social critique of American and Bahamian cultures. Her artworks are often weaponized with concepts of Afrofuturism, a genre of speculative fiction regarding the future and significance of peoples and cultures within the African Diaspora. Pop culture, racial construct, and feminism are some of the many topics that Bey discusses. Research, material, and processes are crucial contributors to Bey’s work, she often travels on a national and international scale, allowing her to gather experience, material, and cultural information directly from the source.
Using an Afrofuturist lens, Bey repurposes familiar brands, phrases, and portraits to create what she refers to as her “rule-based” and “process based” artworks. Across graphic design, installations, paintings, prints, collages, videos, and handmade artist books, she creates visual commentary on the world’s rapidly increasing set of issues. Bey considers her work a physical representation of “power dynamics destroyed and radically alien views.” Her utilization of witty humor, along with her close attention to texture and color are visually striking, purposefully drawing viewers to decipher the message before them.
April Bey is both a practicing contemporary artist and art educator. She is currently a tenured professor at Glendale College and is well known for teaching a controversial course, Pretty Hurts, at the Art Center College of Design. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drawing in 2009 from Ball State University and her Master of Fine Arts in Painting in 2014 at California State University, Northridge in Los Angeles. Bey is in the permanent collection of the California African American Museum, the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, and Baha Mar in Nassau, Bahamas. She has exhibited internationally in biennials NE7, NE8, and NE9 in The Bahamas, and in Italy, Spain, and Ghana.