Throughout paintings, works on paper, ceramics, and site-specific mural and sound installations, Michaela Yearwood-Dan (b. 1994; London, UK) endeavors to build spaces of queer community, abundance, and joy. Yearwood-Dan's singular visual language draws on a diverse range of influences, including Blackness, queerness, femininity, healing rituals, and carnival culture. Moving freely between media, Yearwood-Dan embeds botanical motifs and diaristic meditations within brushy abstract forms and heavy drips of paint. From the monumental scale of her paintings to the more intimate scale of her ceramics and works on paper, Yearwood-Dan's practice frequently reflects an inviting domesticity. Resisting any singular definition of identity, the artist explores the possibilities of creating spaces—physical, pastoral, metaphorical—that allow for unlimited and unbounded ways of being.
Lush and brightly hued, Yearwood-Dan's work is at once personal and political. She often engages colors and materials for their symbolic associations—from the hints of the oranges, pinks, purples, and blues of the lesbian and bisexual pride flags mingling through the compositions to the queer histories of the ceramic carnation and pansy petals collaged into her recent paintings. Language intertwines with botanical motifs throughout Yearwood-Dan's work: abstract habitats teem with painted plant life while live houseplants grow out of wall-mounted ceramics. Within the paintings, she inscribes lines of text—pulled from song lyrics, poetry, or her own diaristic writings. These meditations, appearing at various scales and degrees of legibility, are at once insightful and funny, confident, and questioning. Her words beckon the viewer into a vivid, welcoming world of paradox, play, and contemplation formed within an atmosphere of swirling forms and brilliant chromaticity.
Yearwood-Dan's work has been shown at the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH; Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, AZ; the Green Family Art Foundation, Dallas, TX; Palazzo Monti, Brescia, Italy; and the Museum of Contemporary African Art, Marrakesh, Morocco, among others. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; Institute of Contemporary Art Miami, FL; the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA; the Jorge M. Perez Collection, Miami, FL; and the Columbus Museum of Art and Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, OH. In 2022, she produced her first public mural installation for Queercircle, London, UK. She has participated in a range of fellowships and residencies, including the Palazzo Monti Residency, Brescia, Italy, and Bloomberg New Contemporaries in Partnership with Sarabande: The Lee Alexander McQueen Foundation, London, UK. The artist received her B.A. from the University of Brighton in 2016. Yearwood-Dan lives and works in London.