Shikeith Cathey, A Blue Surrender
Project Team Members (Powerhouse Arts Staff): John Bartolo
Commissioner/Funder/Presenter(s) : Yossi Milo Gallery and Park Avenue Armory
Shikeith worked closely with Powerhouse Arts in Fall of 2023 to create a three-color screen print titled A Blue Surrender that calls directly on themes central to his practice. Printed on Coventry Rag Paper measuring 29 inches by 26 inches using a Semi-Automatic Screen Press, the work achieved its rich, luminous color thanks to hand-mixed inks utilizing custom pigments. The process required several passes of ink to achieve the deep black color desired to enhance the contrast between the rich black and highlight the true ultramarine.
The ghostly image in the work’s upper half speaks to the artist’s non-linear narrative tactics, giving the viewer a mere glimpse of disembodied, floating hands. The subjects Shikeith invokes through faceless imagery invite viewers to speculate, mirroring the artist’s own sense of queer temporality. Rendered in distinctive silkscreen dots, the hands emerge from a void that invites desire as much as fear.
Shikeith’s multidisciplinary work in photography, print, sculpture, and film showcase the exploration of loss, memory, and spiritual protection. Through his interrogation of the sociopolitical structures that oppress the psychological landscapes of marginalized communities, he is seeking solace for the oppressed and exhibits the resilience and mutable power of Black queer individuals. In his new work, A Blue Surrender, Shikeith continues his trademark explorations of screen printing and spiritual imagery.
Shikeith was born in 1989 in Philadelphia, PA, and currently lives and works in Pittsburgh, PA. He received his MFA in Sculpture from The Yale School of Art, after earning his BA in Integrative Arts from The Pennsylvania State University. His work investigates the experiences of black men within and around concepts of psychic space. His work has recently been featured in institutional solo exhibitions, including the Alexander Brest Museum & Gallery, Jacksonville University, Jacksonville, FL; Locust Projects, Miami, FL; Atlanta Contemporary, Atlanta, GA; and The Mattress Factory Museum of Contemporary Art, Pittsburgh, PA. In 2019, Shikeith received a Painters & Sculptors Grant from The Joan Mitchell Foundation. In 2020, Shikeith was awarded the 2020 Art Matters Foundation Grant and was selected for the 2020 – 2021 Leslie Lohman Museum Artist Fellowship.