Apr 6, 2018

Blue Bathers

Blue Bathers


Chris Ofili

(British, b. 1968)

Oil, acrylic, and charcoal on linen

Overall: 278.3 x 200.6 x 4.2 cm (109 9/16 x 79 x 1 5/8 in.)

Scott Mueller Collection 35.2014



After moving from London to Trinidad in 2005, Chris Ofili noted the “strong presence” of night in his new home, and observed a luminous quality to the darkness there, due to Trinidad’s proximity to the equator. Blue Bathers belongs to a series of paintings composed entirely of shades of dark blue that reflect these perceptions. The work’s barely visible imagery suggests a wide range of possible meanings. The artist himself associates the hues in this painting with the blue devil, a character in Trinidadian folklore, as well as “boys in blue,” slang for British police, and the richness of blues music. Together, these associations comprise what the artist describes as his “feeling for a color.”

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