Stan Squirewell

Jodie Bass for BOMB

My first introduction to Stan Squirewell’s work was encountering a recent mural, which moved me to the point of reaching out to him to know more. He graciously accepted. We met in his studio, an old schoolhouse in the Portland neighborhood of Louisville, Kentucky, and spoke about his current body of work. Keeping several pieces in process at once, he embellishes an array of large-scale vintage photographs in adept repetition and intuitive differentiation. With five or six canvases resting on tables and the floor, he orchestrates their composition from above. Disparate past lives become a delightful tapestry of colors and textures with the gravitas of each story resurrected by his hand. Squirewell carefully burns the edges of each puzzle piece before assessing where to collage it with bright images of fabric, hair, jewelry, and sometimes plants. This singeing adds depth, contour, and nuance to an already rich metaphor. The results elevate and transform the faces into another realm. Yet his telling of the Black experience, mined through real people, literally and symbolically, remains unchanged.

December 6, 2023