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#ArtistatCB: Tschabalala Self

At Crystal Bridges, we’re committed to exploring the unfolding story of America. Through the 2014 State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now exhibition, the museum introduced 102 artists who live and work in communities all over the US. We’re continuing that effort in 2018 through new installations and the upcoming exhibitions, The Beyond: Georgia O’Keeffe and Contemporary Art and Art for a New Understanding: Native Voices 1950s to Today, both organized by Crystal Bridges.

#ArtistatCB provides a window into the lives and studios of artists, who help us connect to the issues of our time in thought-provoking and inspiring ways.

Tschabalala Self

Resides in: New Haven, CT

Social Media: Instagram

Artwork at Crystal Bridges:

As part of The Beyond: Georgia O’Keeffe and Contemporary Art:

Boca, 2017, Fabric, gouache, and acrylic on canvas, 68” x 50”, Matthew Morton, New York
Sugarfoot, 2017, Fabric, Flashe, oil, and acrylic on canvas, 68” x 50”, Michael L. Klein, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Origin, 2018, Oil, Flashe, acrylic, and fabric on canvas, 84” x 72”, Tschabalala Self, New Haven, Connecticut

About the Artist:

Tschabalala Self engages the overarching history of artmaking by foregrounding the human body in her work. However, she refers to her painted characters as “avatars,” placing them in conversation with the digital age, even as her decidedly handmade process engages with tradition.19 Through technology and social media, we create virtual personas assembled from parts of ourselves we want to highlight; Self’s collaged characters may be seen as tactile extensions of that principle. These images emerge from personal exploration and an investigation of identity. For this reason, the Black female body is central to most work she creates. The discordantly patterned fabrics combine into bodies that exaggerate curves and simplify features but ultimately resolve into figures with scale and presence.

Self’s characters are typically nude and occasionally in the throes of sexual passion, finding power rather than vulnerability in the exposure of the human form. In Boca, a female figure reclines into a nebulous pink space with one leg elevated, exposing her buttocks, vagina, and breasts. However, despite her totally exposed body, the woman’s expression is one of total self-confidence as she stares defiantly at the viewer. A statement of pride and celebration of the female form, the image challenges societal norms of objectification.

The Beyond: Georgia O'Keeffe and Contemporary Art is on view through Sept 3.

The Beyond: Georgia O’Keeffe and Contemporary Art is on view through Sept 3.

The Beyond: Georgia O’Keeffe and Contemporary Art is on view through September 3! Tickets and more info here