Deborah Roberts, ‘The Bearer’, 2017, The Studio Museum in Harlem

Photo: Philip Rogers

Image rights: Collection of Jessica Stafford Davis Courtesy the artist and Fort Gansevoort, New York

Fictions at The Studio Museum in Harlem, September 14, 2017–January 7, 2018. Fictions is organized by Connie H. Choi, Associate Curator, Permanent Collection, and Hallie Ringle, Assistant Curator.

About Deborah Roberts

In intricately composed collages, Deborah Roberts articulates a pictorial language of African American girlhood that emphasizes the changeable nature of identity and its potential to both empower and oppress. The Austin-based artist uses photographs, magazine clippings, and images from the internet to emphasize the implications of societal pressures and privilege that dominate popular media. Roberts’ style of collage suggests bodily fragmentation, but the composite figures at the forefront of her world also exude imagination and uncanny vitality. Roberts presents an exploded view of beauty that makes room for excluded and marginalized narratives while fighting generalized and discriminatory perceptions of black female experiences. Asked what she hoped for viewers to take away, Roberts said, “When you look at my work, you have to look at every part of the face and make something out of those fragments. That’s one of the gifts of the work—to see people differently, and not just as one being. Blackness is global.”

American, b. 1962, Austin, TX, United States, based in Austin, TX, United States