|Robert Pruitt, Two Sisters, 2009, Charcoal, conté, mixed media, 48" x 36". Collection of the Brissett Family.|
Pruitt's work pulls in images and icons from a broad mix of history, art history, technology and popular culture. A stream of references from African and African-American culture runs steadily through all the work. The portrait of the man with the microwave tower is titled Oba (2011), the Yoruba word for king. He's seated regally in a chair with one arm raised. A scientific calculator, a satellite dish and a small figurine hang around his neck in the oversized style of a hip-hop star. In Two Sistas (2009), one of the women wearing choir robes has a carved African figure sprouting from her head. The woman sporting the Tatlin hairstyle in Be of Our Space World (2009) wears a tunic gorgeously patterned with an unpublished Sun Ra album cover design. She carries the combined utopian dreams of the Soviet avant-garde artist and the Afro-futurist musician.