Whitney Wade

Bronze Beauty (2019)
low-fire white clay
1.5 x 10 x 13.75 in | $340

Whitney Wade is a visual artist brought up in a family of artists, both self-taught and professionally trained, across media. Her first job was in mural painting and design at Gallery 37 (now After School Matters) as a high school student. Acrylic paint and cut paper were her first loves. Ceramics dominates her current practice. Clay is flexible and allows room for dreaming and innovation, but also fights back. Most of her work is created through coiling and slab building. She is particularly interested in surface design and motivated by the challenge of glazing functional, three-dimensional objects.

Her work reflects an upbringing squarely situated on the South Side of Chicago with a relentless focus on the beauty of Black people, their experiences and contributions to the world. She centers Black heroes and ordinary folk, and representations of Black life, both vintage and contemporary. Viewers will find brilliant colors and a range of hues that capture the sepias and hazelnuts of the Diaspora. Her works explore the contradiction of Black women being stereotyped as angry and aggressive, but also firmly positioned as powerless and fetishized.

Inspired by the legendary Jet Beauty of the Week installment and other pin-up styles, “Bronze Beauty” tells a story of sexuality, cheap stereotypes of hypersexuality, and agency of Black womanhood that has yet to be fully realized.

© Whitney Wade