The work of YoYo Lander visualizes the subjects of her portraits in an unexpected fashion at moments of complete candor to communicate the beauty and strength of Black people. Created through collaging pieces of paper painted in varying shades of watercolor, Lander’s figures are oftentimes naked in the paintings and avoid the scrutiny of the spectator, appearing performative and yet vulnerable at the same time.
No Place to Make Love is a series that depicts women covering themselves up with bath towels, recalling classical paintings by the likes of Rembrandt and Gauguin that depict intimate moments of women bathing. In Lander’s version, however, the female subjects are not the objects of sexual fantasies of the male painter. It is the individuality of each woman portrayed that is emphasized within her portraits, liberated from the authoritarian male gaze.