TALK MATERIALITIES | Self Portrait

TALK MATERIALITIES | Self Portrait

Amber Doe
Amber Doe

Material as metaphor is the foundation of my artistic practice. My work springs from ancestral connection and environment – natural and societal. As a descendant of American slavery I look at black experience through subject and material.

Self Portrait is foundational to material as metaphor. Composed of unraveled organic cotton rope and metal hoops. The concept of home security and ownership is central to the “American Dream” and the meritorical myth of upward mobility in black communities. African Americans have been disproportionately left out of home ownership through institutionalised racist structures like redlining and loan terms. Nature is at the forefront of my artistic process. When conceptualizing “Self portrait” I thought of the spider and the ability of the spider to literally create its own home wherever it finds itself by spinning an organic substance from its core. Connecting to my own roots as a descendant of American chattel slavery, I connected to cotton as a material considering it was a considered a cash crop in the same way as black Africans. The self portrait takes the shape of a hoop skirt connecting to gender and colonial southern fashion and it is covered in hand stitched organic cotton rope, it is a literal and abstract portrait. It serves as a larger portrait of black Americans beyond strictly personal representation. Additionally, I will talk about the installation of Monticello as a further example of material as metaphor.

This event will be in English.


Amber Doe (b. Washington DC) currently lives and works in Tucson, AZ. She previously spent time in residence at the BSR as the recipient of the Abbey Fellowship in Painting. She holds a BFA from Sarah Lawrence College, a 2021 Connect the Dots Fellowship, and a recipient of 2017 and 2016 Lyman Fund Grant. Her work has been included in exhibitions at the Museum of Museums, Seattle, the Amarillo Museum of Art, Amarillo, The Irwin House Gallery, Detroit, The LeRoy Neiman Art Center, New York, Gabriel Rolt Gallery, Amsterdam, La Ira de Dios, Buenos Aires, MCLA Gallery, MA, and a solo performance exhibition at The Thief Hotel, Oslo. 


FINE ARTS TALKS | EVENT SERIES

TALK MATERIALITIES

What is materiality in contemporary art?

In historical art, materiality played two important roles: to imitate the world and to overcome death. Certain materials also had specific meanings, indicating wealth and exclusivity.

Contemporary art prompts a different discourse around materiality. From the materiality of colour revealed in its plasticity in abstract expressionism to a reconnection with everyday objects in Pop Art, which began in the 1930s with the Surrealist object trouvé. Materiality can be a body in Performance Art or disappear in Digital Art. Many artists use materiality in a symbolic way, to investigate personal histories and collective memories.

The intention behind the series of talks entitled Talk Materialities, is to explore the wide panorama of contemporary approaches to art and materiality through the work of artists, curators and art historians.

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