Troy Montes-Michie

Born 1985.
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Troy Montes-Michie Biography

Interdisciplinary painter and collage artist Troy Montes-Michie uses his art to engage with the complexities of Black, queer and Latinx identity and experience. Much of Montes-Michie’s work centers around the Black male body—how it has variously been marginalized, fetishized, idealized and criminalized. Layering images sourced from vintage erotic magazines with drawn-on clothing, textiles and cut paper, he interrogates and subverts dominant narratives.

While the politics of representation are at the forefront of Montes-Michie’s oeuvre, he also relishes in the formal elements of his practice, deftly deploying contour, color and abstraction to underscore his thematic concerns. Boundaries and divisions—delineated with line, stitching, or a cut edge—hold a particular fascination. Born in 1985 in El Paso, Texas, Montes-Michie grew up along the U.S.-Mexico border. Of the experience, he has reflected: “When you grow up in a border community, it’s not abnormal to go to school with people from Mexico, or to speak Spanish, or to witness two cultures amalgamate, which I ultimately see as a collage.”

Montes-Michie received his BFA in 2009 from the University of Texas at El Paso before graduating from Yale’s prestigious MFA program in 2011. In 2018, he embarked on a series exploring the social history and form of the zoot suit—a flamboyant style popular in Black and Latinx communities, which became the target of the 1943 Zoot Suit Riots in Los Angeles—to great acclaim. Works from the series were exhibited in a solo show at Frieze London and as part of the Whitney Biennial in New York in 2019. In 2022 Montes-Michie will be honored with his first solo museum exhibition, opening this month at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles. The show, titled Rock of Eye, is presented in tandem with the artist’s first monograph of the same name.

Montes-Michie has also exhibited in group shows at the New Museum in New York (2018) and Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (2019). Works by the artist are held in the public collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, RISD museum in Rhode Island and Ulster Museum in Northern Ireland. Montes-Michie currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York and is represented by Company Gallery.

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