Medium: mixed media collage on paper
Size: 38 x 38 in.
Purchased with funds provided by the Charles E. Meiner Acquisition Trust Endowment Fund, 2019.06. © 2018 Deborah Roberts.
Deborah Roberts is a mixed media artist whose practice takes on social commentary, critiquing perceptions of ideal beauty, and challenging stereotypes and myths. “Otherness” has been central to her work since the beginning of her artistic career. Like most people, her early ideals were shaped by societal interpretations of race and beauty through paintings of Renaissance artists and photographs in fashion magazines. Mythical, heroic, beautiful, and powerful, these images embodied a status that was not afforded equally to anyone she knew and influenced the way she viewed herself and other African Americans.
Roberts combines found and manipulated images with hand-drawn and painted details to create hybrid figures, which often take the form of young girls or boys, symbolizing vulnerability but also a naïve strength. The children who populate her work, while subject to societal pressures and projected images, are still unfixed in their identity. Each child has the character and agency to find their own way amidst the complicated narratives of American, African-American, and art history.
Image courtesy of the artist and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, LLC.