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Institute of Contemporary Art Miami


Jared McGriff
Overseer, Overseer, Officer, 2020

Oil on canvas
64 x 74 in.
Museum purchase
Image credit
Photo by Phillip Karp
Jared McGriff Overseer, Overseer, Officer, 2020 Oil on canvas, 64 x 74 in. Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami Museum purchase

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.