Chelle Barbour

You IS Pretty!

Becoming, mixed media on paper (from the personal studio of Jacob Lawrence), 16×20, 2018

Bulbous Dreams, mixed media on paper (from the personal studio of Jacob Lawrence), 16×20, 2018

Black Cognecenti, mixed media on paper (from the personal studio of Jacob Lawrence), 20×30, 2018 – SOLD

Call Me They, mixed media on paper (from the personal studio of Jacob Lawrence), 20×30, 2018

Citrus Mood, mixed media on paper (from the personal studio of Jacob Lawrence), 20×30, 2018

Dark and Lovely, mixed media on paper (from the personal studio of Jacob Lawrence), 20×30, 2018

Dark Surprise, mixed media on paper (from the personal studio of Jacob Lawrence), 20×30, 2018

Don’t Get It Twisted, mixed media on paper (from the personal studio of Jacob Lawrence), 20×30, 2018

Framing the Path Forward, mixed media on paper (from the personal studio of Jacob Lawrence), 20×30, 2018 – SOLD

Free Your Mind, mixed media on paper (from the personal studio of Jacob Lawrence), 20×30, 2018 – SOLD

I See You, mixed media on paper (from the personal studio of Jacob Lawrence), 16×20, 2018

In the Palm of My Hands, mixed media on paper (from the personal studio of Jacob Lawrence), 20×30, 2018

Indelible Warrior, mixed media on paper (from the personal studio of Jacob Lawrence), 20×30, 2018

Killing Time, mixed media on paper (from the personal studio of Jacob Lawrence), 20×30, 2018

Look But Don’t Touch, mixed media on paper (from the personal studio of Jacob Lawrence), 20×30, 2018

Morphed Beauty, mixed media on paper (from the personal studio of Jacob Lawrence), 20×30, 2018

Off With Their Heads, mixed media on wood, 20×30, 2018 – SOLD

Over You, mixed media on paper (from the personal studio of Jacob Lawrence), 20×30, 2018 – SOLD

Queen Mother, mixed media on paper (from the personal studio of Jacob Lawrence), 20×30, 2018 – SOLD

Sassy Warrior, mixed media on paper (from the personal studio of Jacob Lawrence), 20×30, 2018

Something Caught Her Attention, mixed media on paper (from the personal studio of Jacob Lawrence), 20×30, 2018

Tracing Allegory, mixed media on paper (from the personal studio of Jacob Lawrence), 20×30, 2018

Unyielding Resistance, mixed media on paper (from the personal studio of Jacob Lawrence), 20×30, 2018 – SOLD

Up Above My Head, mixed media on paper (from the personal studio of Jacob Lawrence), 20×30, 2018

Upstairs and to the Right, mixed media on paper (from the personal studio of Jacob Lawrence), 20×30, 2018

Weeeeeee, mixed media on paper (from the personal studio of Jacob Lawrence), 20×30, 2018

Whatchu Looking At

Whatchu Looking At, mixed media on paper (from the personal studio of Jacob Lawrence), 20×30, 2018

 

You For Me, mixed media on paper (from the personal studio of Jacob Lawrence), 20×30, 2018

 

Artist Statement

Sur·re·al·ism. noun. “A 20th-century avant-garde movement in art and literature that sought to release the creative potential of the unconscious mind, for example by the irrational juxtaposition of images.

While surrealism was a cultural movement began in the early 1920s, it was re-contextualized in the 1970s by the late, Amiri Baraka who coined the term, Afro-Surrealism, raising the notion that the experience of being black in America was surreal, and built on the survival of oppression beyond one’s imagination. Using Afro-Surrealism as a prompt, the collage work in this series elevates the imaginary of black women, by eradicating unfair media representations. My process includes carefully researching objects, materials and examining thousands of images. My work also includes references to Afro-Futurism and the Asian and African Diaspora with a twist of fantasy, avant-gardism, and minimalism. You will identify architectural elements, objects and structures, weapons, knives, organic forms, animal and reptile skins, vehicles, and human body parts taken from photographs, publications, and found objects that form representational themes and metaphors.

The general idea about surrealist art is that there is no rhyme, reason, or logic. It is elusive often challenging the viewer to unpack divergent images on paper. My objective is to juxtapose and integrate disparate images so they fit evenly or symbolically together. The end result often depicts black women who are confident and regal; whose assuredness envelops you, the viewer. The females featured in my work represent the complete archetype of a black woman—unapologetically colorful, in possession of inner strength, and beyond objectification. These women epitomize feminine/feminist queens, warriors, heroines and non-gendered binary interlocutors who embody ageless beauty and grace. While black women are typically devalued and perceived in the social-cultural imaginary as a threat, what You Is Pretty! Surrealism in the Black Imaginary attempts to elevate and portray is their vulnerability, strength, resistance, and power.

%d bloggers like this: