Joe Light, Joe Light, 1986, house paint on plywood, 22 × 13 1/4".

Joe Light, Joe Light, 1986, house paint on plywood, 22 × 13 1/4".

Joe Light

Institute 193 | Lexington

Joe Light’s painting Kiera, 1989, is an undulating, almost corporeal landscape anchored by three red hills set against a light-blue sky. In the pink foreground are a trio of pronged forms that resemble the branches of denuded trees—or perhaps even desert wanderers with their arms outstretched to heaven. The composition calls to mind Georgia O’Keeffe’s early abstractions based on New York’s Lake George, in which sloping ovoid forms become mountains and clouds. But zooming out to take in Kiera, alongside the seven other house-paint-on-plywood works at Institute 193, the viewer might have apprehended it as just one more episode within the larger visual narrative of Light’s self-made cosmology. The artist’s mythos centers around two oft-painted figures: Hobo and Birdman, after whom this exhibition was titled. Hobo is a multiracial everyman who carries a bindle and stick while wandering through

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