Public Displays of Privacy is a group exhibition that explores the complexities of identity, memory and subjectivity in relation to Black Womanhood. Each artist shares their narrative(s) of self discovery through watercolor, oil, photography, and mixed-media. By blurring the lines set in place to demarcate what is kept private and what is for public consumption the artists allow themselves the option to control or release, conceal or reveal, and create or destroy on their own terms.
Nakeya Brown‘s photographs draw attention to the ways beauty standards are reflected in politics, cultural memories and racial identities. By placing emphasis on their hair rather than the women themselves, Brown grants the viewer access to the personal grooming routines of her subjects while keeping their identity anonymous. Her photographs juxtapose domestic objects like cooking pots and clothes pins with perm rods, shower caps and other hair styling tools to explore the ideals of beauty and blackness within feminist thought.
Khadijah Wilson’s installation physically binds her subjects together using deconstructed material and applies pressure to their communal existence, causing them to literally tug at their freedom. Their strained necks mimic the double burden of race and gender experienced by Black women, while their limited mobility hints at a loss of individual agency.
Using images of family members as her source of inspiration, Adrienne Gaither investigates the social constructs and constraints of familial ties by collecting and displaying personal trinkets, archival photos and found objects. Through the activation of these materials, the installation, Levels, becomes a physical personification of the memories and experiences that brought healing, love and comfort into Gaither’s life.
Danielle Smith’s large scale watercolor and oil paintings dismantle the limiting boundaries created by stereotypes and social norms set in place to obscure ones intersectionality. Her soft brush strokes paint intimate moments of joy, pain and vulnerability as she invites her viewers to question the notions of class, race and gender.
–Martina Dodd, curator