Atlanta-based artist Asante Malik channels generational angst and his own psyche through rich, frenetic canvases. Amassed against washes and markings reminiscent of Abstract Expressionism, Malik foregrounds hardline figuration, nodding to the history of 1980s street graffiti and Pop Art. Dissected images of Garfield, Goofy, and Schroeder appear in quasi-Cubist pastiche, like glitching graphics struggling to appear through slow internet connections.
Each canvas is graced by at least one popular icon of another popular imagination. Fractured, the cartoon is on fire, a haptic rendering of identities and perspectives. In Antisocial Gossip (2021), the character of Daffy Duck, his face an otherwise unrecognizable mangling of drips and patterns, proffers his distorted beak to the viewer. Known also as a bill, the fowl seems to take money as much as run his mouth. This sly play on words and visuality continues in Cats and Dogs in Quarantine (2020) where, amidst a codified, inverted amalgamation of symbols and characters, Garfield reclines supine à la Manet’s Olympia. Malik works through his own complicated vocabulary, repurposing the signs and symbols of the old world to reflect the nuances and perspectives of a new age.