Hey Tomorrow, Do You Have Some Room for Me: Failure Is A Part of Being Alive

MAD54 was delighted to attend New York-based painter Arcmanoro Niles’ show at Lehmann Maupin. Hey Tomorrow, Do You Have Some Room for Me: Failure Is A Part of Being Alive will be on view through August 27th, 2021.

With his brightly-hued portraits and still life canvases nodding at the influence of baroque and religious paintings, DC-born painter Arcmanoro Niles is best known for depicting seemingly mundane aspects of daily life. His subjects and scenes are drawn from photographs of friends and relatives.

Although autobiographical, his work does not only offer a glimpse at a highly personal record of contemporary life, but it also engages with universal concepts of desire, hope, fear, and failure, highlighting our most basic human impulses and desires.

Each painting invites us to consider the context in which it was made: the intimacy of private space and the way it reflects on their inhabitants. Living in a seemingly parallel world to the human's, there are these cartoonish figures he calls ‘seekers’. As Niles explains, these characters “are more impulsive, chasing whatever they think will make them happy in that moment, with no fear of consequence, while the human subjects are more vulnerable and open with their feelings.”

The highly saturated compositions incite us to reflect on our own histories and experiences, what makes us human―our struggles and successes, and how these give place for growth and transformation.

“All of these moments in life that people look at as failures are just a part of growing up and can actually open new doors and lead to new phases in life. When I look back at my own experiences, they weren’t really failures at all.”

The body of works presented in this show create a cohesive narrative of every day life. Niles' use of color and glitter present these every day life scenes with the importance they deserve and, as mundane as they may seem, the role transformative role they have in forming us.