"I choose to inspire self-belief with positive change, positive critique, while also positively challenging social justice through 'Colored Artistic Action.'"
Within my artwork; I use interdisciplinary art practices, to convey a recognizable urban perspective. I've been working on several series and research projects that generates a vast collection of artworks. I conceptually project the racial, political and economic disparities that occur to non-whites in society, while simultaneously challenging the traditionally accepted definition of contemporary fine art. My artistic process is an intermix of bricolage, paint, oil crayon, collage, as well as integrating reclaimed objects such as “enslaved-African picked cotton,” with elements of drawing; including live and video performances. My use of reverse text in some of the artworks relates to my dyslexia which signifies the difficulty of reading even a simple word.
My artwork examines layers of tribal identification and uses society's perplexities and oxymoronic terms including “civil rights” and “justice for all.” My artwork provides viewers with an opportunity to feel what it may be like to experience injustices with the everyday struggle of being non-white.
HeLa Series (ongoing)
Kent found the inspiration for the “HeLa Series” in the fluorescent microscopic images of the HeLa cells, which he found during meticulous research on the Henrietta Lacks’ story.
Bricolage Sculptures (ongoing)
Bricolage (noun): construction or creation from a diverse range of available things. Kent examines history by reclaiming used anthropological textbooks, vintage physician’s desk references, enslaved African picked cotton, shredded worldwide currency, victorian furniture, as well as anything that fits the specificity of how his work is informed.
Hypocrisy in Hypocrisy (ongoing)
These artworks are informed by the inherent hypocrisy and logical flaws embedded in societal censorship. Kent is intrigued by how physical violence such as shooting a gun is deemed to be more appropriate than simple verbal expressions or acts of love and kindness. This series is hypocritical to Kent himself as he does not believe in the use of guns, the idolizing of fabric (flags) and the “magic” of santa claus.
Hyped Media (ongoing)
These paintings are informed by the television networks competing against each other with different identities and realities. The point of views are heightened subjective interpretations of the real truth.
Higher Definitions (ongoing)
Each of the paintings has a winning poker hand and the iconic collegiate number one, questioning the balance between chance and merit that leads us to being "winners." The pigs in these paintings are used in an idiomatic fashion representing many dualities including gluttony, greed, savings and compassion. In many cultures, pigs are considered good luck.
Palermo Series (ongoing)
These paintings are informed by a residency Kent did in Sicily, Italy. The oxymoronic signifier in all of these paintings is a photo Kent took of a ‘black’ toddler mannequin dressed in a Moncler fur trimmed coat over a Ferrari sweatshirt in Palermo, Sicily in August.
Preach! New Works by Jeffrey Kent is a solo show brimming over with images that provoke questions regarding race, marriage equality and basic human rights. Curated by the Exhibition Development Seminar (EDS) at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA).
Fashion, Trends and Stereotypes (2003-2005)
A completed series of fifteen large paintings of original fashion design sketches; featuring hip-hop influences. This series points at the human nature of judging someone for what they wear, rather than the content of their character. For example, Jay-Z is a multi-billionaire and society teaches us that no matter what your status may be, 'you can still be a nigger.'