Lex Marie: Let Them Kids Be Kids
Wyatt Resident Artists Gallery
Let Them Kids Be Kids uses the playground as a framework with which to examine the joys of Black childhood and the ways in which issues of race and equity are inscribed on the site. Employing images from her personal life to examine these ideas, Lex Marie’s newest paintings and installations address the issue of adultification bias as she makes the case that all children have a right to innocence.
For years, artist Lex Marie has used personal objects and photographs to inspire her compositions. In her newest works, Marie allows viewers to witness scenes of her son Aiden playing from infancy to the present day, in some moments beaming giddily, in other gazing pensively while on a tricycle or a swing set. The paintings incorporate objects salvaged from her son’s early childhood, including socks, superhero costumes and pajamas that serve as compositional elements, or, in the case of her newest installations, as stand-ins for unknown individuals.
In Lex Marie’s work, the personal is political. Although Marie’s perspective is specific to her, it has a universality that resonates well beyond her own experience. Marie’s depictions of her son’s childhood are a visual exploration of the joys and fears understood by anyone raising a Black male child in America.
LEX MARIE uses her life and personal history as her subject. Marie’s first solo exhibition Remember? Remember. opened in two separate locations in Washington, DC through Arena Social Arts Club (2021), and her work has been curated into group exhibitions including Cumberland Valley Juried Exhibition (Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, Hagerstown, MD, 2022); Future Places (Susquehanna Art Museum, Harrisburg, PA, 2022); Rooted in Voyage (Band of Vices, Los Angeles, CA, 2022); We Can’t Predict Tomorrow (Arlington Arts Center, Arlington, VA, 2021) and FRESH START by McCall Art Advisory (online, 2021). Marie holds a BA in studio art with a concentration in painting from the University of Maryland, College Park. She lives and works in the metropolitan DC area.
In Conversation: Lex Marie & Jerrell Gibbs
MoCA Arlington resident artist Lex Marie and guest artist Jerrell Gibbs discuss their artwork and their shared interest in artistic depictions of daily life in the Black community. The conversation took place on Wednesday, November 9, 2022, in conjunction with Let Them Kids Be Kids.