Alexis Pye


oil, oil pastel, and oil stick on panel
30 x 40 inches

This painting pulls its title and inspiration from the Rio Cortez poem “Black Lead in a Nancy Meyers Film,” which describes soft, leisurely vignettes of an aging Black female protagonist who enjoys little splendors, such as relaxing by the ocean, going on jogs, learning French, and experiencing joys with her friends and family. Like many paintings in this series, the artist uses cinematic tropes from feel-good, romantic movies but intentionally places Black figures in their leading roles as the protagonists. Alexis Pye’s practice explores the tradition of portraiture through the Black body as seen outside its social constructs. Her formal strategies integrate mixed media with painting, embroidery, and punch-stitch needlework.

Alexis Pye is a Houston-based artist whose practice explores the tradition of portraiture to express the Black body outside of its social constructs. Placing her subjects in leisurely, luscious, nature-rich, and even fantastical settings, her works evoke playfulness, wonder and Blackness, as well as the joys amidst adversity. Her formal strategies include an integration of mixed media within painting, including embroidery and punch-stitch needlework. Pye received her BFA in Painting from the University of Houston in 2018. She was included in the group show Animal Crossing at Inman Gallery in 2020, and presented her first solo show, The Real and the Fantastic/The Irrational Joys of the Axis, at Inman Gallery in July 2021. In 2021, her work was included in the group exhibitions My Mirror Is Fine curated by Miles Payne at the Community Artists Collective, Houston, and Honor Thy Self at Martha’s Contemporary in Austin. In 2022, she collaborated with the Houston Rockets x CAMH at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston.

[text provided by Inman Gallery]