Overseer, Overseer, Officer, 2020
In his figurative oil and watercolor paintings, Jared McGriff creates scenes of everyday life that
expand on the American experience. Through blurring and expressionistic distortions, McGriff
conjures fragmentary memories and individualized associations. Exploring the space between
vision and cognition, McGriff’s works reference tropes of Americana and the American West in
order to reflect on dynamics of power and inequality. McGriff says, “The images I create are an
attempt to document the collective conscious, informed by a connection to history and global
Overseer, Overseer, Officer (2020) portrays two police officers or wards in bright-white
uniforms and golden badges against a diluted blue background. The scene is suggestively tense:
both have awkwardly exaggerated limbs, rendering their movements and actions blurry and
ambiguous, while one seems to reach toward his holster. McGriff is also interested in how the
police officers’ identity as Black Americans complicates audiences’ relationships to them and the
subjects’ own relationship to power. The title’s doubling leaves it open to the viewer to interpret
who is rendered here. McGriff created Overseer, Overseer, Officer following the 2020 murder of
George Floyd and the ensuing Black Lives Matter protests nationwide.
Jared McGriff (b. 1977, Los Angeles) received his undergraduate degree in architecture from the
University of California Berkeley College of Environmental Design and his master’s degree in
Business Administration from New York University. In 2021–22, McGriff’s solo exhibition
“Where We Are You” was held at the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale. His works have also
been exhibited nationally at George Washington University, Washington, DC, and the Harvey B.
Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, Charlotte, North Carolina, and are held in the
collections of NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale and the Rubell Museum, Miami.