Because I am Free
acrylic and collage on canvas
40 x 30 in.
I am a figurative artist.
The mask imagery in my work serves as a conduit into the depths of identity, ethnicity, humanity and multiplicity in an attempt to expose racial stereotypes. I use folded and draped canvas to reflect the inevitable wrinkles in life. I work with weathered wood and multi-planed canvas to create constructions that will lead the eye to look at human imperfection as a natural and positive force.
Another choice I have made is framing my work to place in context the African-American presence within the larger world, to create images that will inspire the viewer to re-evaluate limited perceptions of African-Americans. To expand our senses, aesthetics and perspectives so that we might see more than the narrow picture, and learn to look and think outside our boxes, is an important goal.
My work is presented as a means by which we are able to examine and place into perspective our differences and similarities, within and outside of our immediate and superficial orientations, and appreciate how variety enriches us.
Even as progress comes slowly and we have had our first bi-racial president, we clearly see there is an insistence on confusing race as a marker for potential and ability. What images reflect a high aesthetic? Appearance and familiarity and comfort level makes a difference in all areas of life. If one has not seen a black person in a painting, does that mean black people are not worthy of being in a painting?
Culture is passed down through visual images as well as words.
© Joyce Owens