Tony Lewis, American, born 1986
Graphite powder, pencil and colored pencil on paper
84 x 60 inches
Acquired 2021
In Equal brightly hued characters—variations on the words people and color—balance atop a hand-drawn equal sign. The work emerged from a body of ongoing large-scale text-based drawings that Tony Lewis has produced over the past decade. In this series, as with his larger drawing practice, the discernible content uses and then breaks a linguistic structure—reducing the written language to abstraction through erasure, obfuscation, and redaction. To make Equal Lewis divided the compositional plane with poured graphite, creating a gestural rupture that points to inequities across people and color. Using the studio to confine the all-over, fugitive nature of powdered graphite, Lewis suggests that the dust is always settling and that the personal, political, pop-cultural, and racial meanings in his work are never fixed.