Domestic Disturbance: New Works by Deborah Roberts

Deborah Roberts

Where: New East Arts Gallery@Saltillo Lofts
1601 East 5th St, Suite 106
Austin, TX 78702

 Opening Reception: Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014

Run of Exhibition: Nov. 1 thru Dec. 7, 2014

For interviews with the artist, additional print-quality or web display images, and/or more Info, contact:
(512) 538-5657

Join DiverseArts as we welcome Deborah Roberts back home to Austin! 

On Saturday, November 1, at 7:00pm we are proud to host the opening reception for Domestic Disturbance: New Works by Deborah Roberts—her first Austin exhibition since completion of MFA work at Syracuse University. Please join us at New East Arts Gallery, 1601 East 5th, Suite 106, as we honor internationally known mixed-media artist Deborah Roberts with a showing of her new work. As always, Robert's work will challenge traditional and societal interpretations of beauty, and how these ideals affect African American identity. This will be one of the most significant exhibitions in Austin's fall visual arts season. Not to be missed!

“Whether I was aware of it or not, the notion of otherness has been at the center of my consciousness from the beginning of my artistic career,” Roberts has said. At an early age, Roberts' perception of race and beauty were based on Western images in fashion magazines and Renaissance art. She observed that she and people she knew were not represented by these images that were upheld as ideals of beauty and found a link between this under-representation and the way she viewed herself and other African Americans. 

Through her striking mixed-media pieces, which address issues of exclusion, otherness, dignity, consumption, and subjectivity through the form of the grotesque, Roberts confronts the damaging effects of traditional beauty ideals, myths and stereotypes on women of color, and challenges the notions of self and perceived self. 

Domestic Disturbance is on display from November 1 through December 7 at New East Arts Gallery.

New East Arts Gallery is dedicated to the larger mission of DiverseArts to focus positive attention on the cultural life of Central East Austin, the African American Cultural Heritage District and the creative professionals who live and work here. The mission of New East is to showcase the work of established and emerging local artists, with special emphasis on representing Austin's diverse cultural communities by providing exhibition opportunities for artists of color. 

The Artist and her thoughts on Domestic Disturbance:
Whether I was aware of it or not, the notion of otherness has been at the center of
my consciousness from the beginning of my artistic career. My early ideals of race
and beauty were shaped by and linked through paintings of renaissance artists and
photographs in fashion magazines. Those images were mythical, heroic, beautiful, and
powerful and embodied a particular status that was not afforded equally to me or anyone
I knew. These images influenced the way I viewed myself and other African Americans,
which led me to investigate “How has African American identity been imagined and
shaped by societal interpretations of beauty?” I then positioned my art practice in the vein
of social commentary with a particular point of view on the perceptions of ideal beauty.

Stereotypes and myths were the first to be challenged in my work; I created a dialogue
between the ideas of inclusion, dignity, consumption, and subjectivity by addressing
beauty in the form of the ideal woman, the Venus. By challenging Venus, I was
challenging the notion of beauty at its core and making room for women of color who
were not included in this icon of ideal beauty. Visually you are looking through multiple
layers, double meanings and symbols when wading through my work. My process is to
combine interspersed images of iconology like Afros, large hoop earrings, nappy hair,
and big red lips. Each component has character and agency both in the motif and in the
complicated narratives of American, African American and art history.

I believe having ones identity dismantled, marginalized and regulated to non-human status constitutes
action. This led me to making confrontational-based work that challenged the notions of
self and perceived self. My goal is for this work to show women of color, both young and
old, that their beauty is not to be an object of convenience or ridicule and should not be
made void or brought and sold at a moment notice, but it is to be cherished and honored,
as all women should be.

—Deborah Roberts, 2014

DiverseArts is funded in part by the City of Austin through the Cultural Arts Division and by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that .....a great nation deserves great art.

Saturday, November 1, 2014 - 6:00pm