By Jermaine E. Davenport,
Davenport Imports & Arts
“The Pursuit of Perfection” is the name of the current exhibition–Feb. 1 through March 14–by acclaimed, up-and-coming Baltimore artist Wendell Supreme Shannon in the new gallery space of Davenport Arts & Imports on “The Avenue” in Hampden. On view and for sale are more than 20 recent, mostly large-format acrylic-on-canvas paintings of Supreme, as he is known professionally, in his signature style which he calls “Perfectionism,” featuring eye-popping colors and immaculate, abstract geometric forms in elaborate compositions.
A protege of internationally known local artist Larry “Poncho” Brown, Supreme was born in 1990 in New York City but raised in Baltimore where he attended Dulaney High School and Morgan State University where he majored in business administration. At age 19 Supreme’s art career started serendipitously when, diagnosed with several autoimmune diseases that affected the use of his hands, Supreme as a patient at Johns Hopkins Hospital began drawing simple geometric forms for manual therapy. Upon recovery a clear talent for art developed to where he could sell drawings and paintings locally and in recent years be shown at commercial galleries in England, Jamaica, and the prestigious Art Basel in Miami, Florida. Also interested in public art in Baltimore in support of social causes, Supreme in 2019 created the courtyard mural at the Poe Homes in Poppleton, and in 2020 collaborated on the Black Lives Matter mural at City Hall.
In a recent interview Supreme spoke passionately about his artmaking in a studio in Essex, where he paints daily when not working as a longshoreman at the Port of Baltimore. “The main reason I do abstraction, rather than realistic subjects,” he says, “is its freedom of expression–the power and autonomy it gives me as an artist. My choice of shapes and colors is entirely my own–and viewers can make no assumptions about my personal identity, ideas, or life experience. I believe freedom emanates from my paintings themselves.”
“The Pursuit of Perfection” is on view until Monday, March 14 on the parlor level of Davenport Arts & Imports at 714 West 36th Street in Baltimore, with viewing hours Monday to Friday 12-8 PM, and Sundays 12-6. For more information call the gallery at (410) 977-7082.
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