Vision 2020: "Deborah Roberts: I'm"

Nationally known Austin artist will get a solo show at home

Political Lamb in a Wolf's World, 2018, by Deborah Roberts

Deborah Roberts has been making and showing art in Austin for decades, most of that time plugging away in the quiet and inconspicuous way of so many local artists. But in the last few years, this remarkable visual artist has broken out in breathtaking fashion.

Roberts has been having her collages and paintings shown in New York, London, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, and at Art Basel in Miami; collected by the Whitney Museum, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and purchased by an entertainer you may have heard of: Beyoncé.

The Redress, 2018, by Deborah Roberts

Please note: This recognition wasn’t because Roberts’ art underwent some drastic change that made it more palatable to the larger art world. It’s just that the art world finally opened its eyes to what's been in front of it for years. Roberts creates absorbing images of African American children, each face a collage of parts of faces from different photographs atop a body painted by Roberts though sometimes with other body parts – hands, arms, legs, some of them from photos of adults – pasted onto the form. The juxtapositions of youth and age, of vulnerability and power, play with time, simultaneously showing us the adults these youth will become and the children that all adults once were. Always, the collages provide telling social commentary about cultural representations of beauty, identity, and racism.

In 2020, Roberts is receiving a new measure of recognition at home. The Contemporary Austin is mounting a solo exhibition of new work by the artist – her first one in Texas. Curated by Heather Pesanti, the museum’s chief curator and director of curatorial affairs, it will include collages and paintings, plus a pair of new interactive sound, text, and video sculptures and a figurative mural for the exterior of the Jones Center, commissioned by the museum. “Deborah Roberts: I’m” will open Sept. 12 and run through Jan. 21, 2031. For more information, visit www.thecontemporaryausin. org.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More The Contemporary Austin
Nicole Eisenman Receives Booth/FLAG Art Prize
Nicole Eisenman Receives Booth/FLAG Art Prize
NYC artist is the first recipient of the $200,000 award

Robert Faires, Aug. 6, 2018

Laguna Gloria to Get New Entrance
Laguna Gloria to Get New Entrance
The Contemporary Austin plans $6 million makeover on 35th St.

Robert Faires, Feb. 22, 2018

More by Robert Faires
In Memoriam: Peg Miller
In Memoriam: Peg Miller
Last call for the big-hearted co-owner of Chicago House

Jan. 27, 2020

Jarrott Productions' <i>The Niceties</i>
Jarrott Productions' The Niceties
In this staging of Eleanor Burgess' drama, the frictions of American society catch fire in an academic's office

Jan. 24, 2020

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

The Contemporary Austin, Deborah Roberts, Heather Pesanti

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Time to vote! Music Poll 2019-20 balloting is underway   VOTE NOW