AFTER FEATURING TWO WORKS by Brenna Youngblood at Art Basel OVR: Miami Beach, the digital art fair held in December, Roberts Projects in Los Angeles announced its representation of the multidisciplinary artist yesterday.

Youngblood expresses herself through abstraction and often integrates found objects and materials into her work, many with personal significance. Trained as a photographer, her practice currently spans painting, mixed-media collage, assemblage, sculpture, and installation.

Describing her work, the gallery said Youngblood “takes as her subject the distilling and revising of an alternative Americana as seen through a dry art historical lens. Her work incorporates both autobiographical and fictional narratives to explore the iconography of the Black experience, the methods, politics and ethics of representation, and the legacy of abstraction.”

“Her work incorporates both autobiographical and fictional narratives to explore the iconography of the Black experience, the methods, politics and ethics of representation, and the legacy of abstraction.”

Youngblood’s work has been the subject of several solo institutional exhibitions, most recently “Brenna Youngblood: Lavender Rainbow” was on view last year at the Riverside Art Museum, her hometown museum. In 2015, she won the Gwendolyn Knight | Jacob Lawrence Prize from the Seattle Art Museum (SAM). The prize included a solo exhibition, “Brenna Youngblood: Abstracted Realities,” guest curated by Sandra Jackson-Dumont (2015-16). Youngblood’s first solo museum exhibition was “Hammer Projects: Brenna Youngblood” at the Hammer Museum in 2006.

She has also been featured in many group exhibitions, notably, “Collective Constellation: Selections from the Eileen Harris Norton Collection” at Art + Practice in Los Angeles (2020); “Magnetic Fields: Expanding American Abstraction, 1960s to Today” at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. (2018) and Kempner Museum of Contemporary Art, in Kansas City, Mo. (2017); “AFRICA FORECAST: Fashioning Contemporary Life” at the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art in Atlanta (2016); “Fore” at the Studio Museum in Harlem (2012-13); and Made in L.A., the Hammer Museum biennial (2012).

BORN IN RIVERSIDE, CALIF., Youngblood lives and works in Los Angeles. She earned a BFA from California State University, Long Beach (2002) and holds an MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles (2006). At UCLA, she studied with artists Catherine Opie, John Baldessari, and James Welling.

“I’ve had this wheelchair in my studio for about 10 years. When people see me sit in it, it’s always sort of like, that’s bad luck, because of course it resonates things about mortality,” Youngblood said a few years ago, when she was speaking about her exhibition at SAM.

“I’m working in several modes of abstraction within the show.…A lot of the work utilizes objects from real life—actual objects, images of objects, and creating objects from paint,” she said. “I like there to be a lot of layers in the work and I don’t like to say exactly what something is about because I enjoy peoples interpretations, what they bring from their lives, their experiences. I enjoy the ambiguity of the work.”

“the LIGHT and the DARK,” Youngblood’s first exhibition with Roberts Projects opens March 6 and will be accompanied by a catalog published by the gallery. CT

 

TOP IMAGE: Brenna Youngblood, 2021. Photo by James Kelly

 


Artist Brenna Youngblood discusses her Gwendolyn Knight | Jacob Lawrence Prize exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum. | Video by SAM

 

BOOKSHELF
“The Mathematics of Individual Achievement,” the first monograph of Brenna Youngblood was published in 2013. “Magnetic Fields: Expanding American Abstraction, 1960s to Today” documents the exhibition of the same name, which featured work by Youngblood.

 

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