MICHAELA YEARWOOD-DAN (B. 1994)
MICHAELA YEARWOOD-DAN (B. 1994)
MICHAELA YEARWOOD-DAN (B. 1994)
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
MICHAELA YEARWOOD-DAN (B. 1994)

Let’s just take a breather

Details
MICHAELA YEARWOOD-DAN (B. 1994)
Let’s just take a breather
signed, titled and dated '"Let's just take a breather" 2021 Michaela Yearwood-Dan' (on the reverse)
oil, acrylic and ink on canvas
31 1/4 x 31 3/4in. (79.4 x 80.6cm.)
Executed in 2021
Provenance
Tiwani Contemporary, London.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent. This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

Brought to you by

Claudia Schürch
Claudia Schürch Senior Specialist, Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

Michaela Yearwood-Dan’s Let’s just take a breather (2021) is a sunlit sanctuary of colour. Swirls of coral, pink, turquoise and blue float and merge together, shot through with baroque flashes of yellow. Dilute washes meet cherry-blossom dabs of impasto, and delicate, broad-brushed strokes of deep blue shimmer through the air like vapour-trails. A handful of leaves, their veins textured in fine sgraffito, are swept up in the movement. The surface is also punctuated by dashes of dark ink, which echo the artist’s textual notations: the lines ‘won’t you just let me live? / I’m just too tired to fight any more’ can be read at the lower left, while ‘is it worth it?’ is written quietly in the opposite corner. These hints of doubt are overwhelmed amid the painting’s joy and abundance. As its title implies, Let’s just take a breather offers a space of refuge and freedom from the discord of the outside world.

Yearwood-Dan’s poetic use of words—often inspired by song lyrics or conversations with friends—is a hallmark of her work, which is as personal as it is political. Inflecting her paintings with distinct emotional moods, the inscriptions often also reveal the artist’s playful, Millennial sense of humour, and a defiance of the powers that be. The present work’s ‘won’t you just let me live?’ might be said to sum up the spirit of her practice as a whole: the painting is unapologetically beautiful, bright and feminine, reflecting Yearwood-Dan’s intent to take up space as a queer, Black woman artist. She has spoken of reclaiming beauty—often sidelined as a quality in ‘serious’ art—as a mode of empowering self-expression. ‘Everything is feminine,’ she says: ‘the world exists because of the feminine. Stop insulting women for being who they are. We deal with enough. Globally and biologically, we deal with enough’ (M. Yearwood-Dan, quoted in E. Hendy, ‘Artist Michaela Yearwood-Dan on finding joy through art and reclaiming beauty’, The Glossary, 9 March 2023).

Building their own climates of lush texture and aerated space, Yearwood-Dan’s paintings are richly immersive. She has recently expanded on this aspect of her work, creating a curved mural installation for her 2022 exhibition Let Me Hold You at the London culture hub Queercircle, and debuting another mural, At the request of a dreamer (2023), at Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York, where—accompanied by scents and a specially-commissioned soundtrack—the painting became part of an all-encompassing sensory environment. Let’s just take a breather, too, welcomes the viewer into an intimate place of romance, rest and reflection. Colour and motion come to life as the painting is experienced, and light, like an epiphany, shines through the details.

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