THE FALL EXHIBITION SEASON is officially underway and some of the first new gallery shows to open feature five early- and mid-career artists to watch. Each has a unique visual voice. What unifies their latest work is a resonance with the contemporary moment. Deborah Roberts, Carla Jay Harris, and Brittney Leeanne Williams are confronting hard truths about ourselves, our communities, and our democracies and considering the empowering effect and emotional toll of these realities on our children and on Black women, their bodies, in particular. Sculptural reliefs by LaKela Brown utilize an ancient art form to document the lives of contemporary women. New paintings by Jerrell Gibbs are “manifesting a youthful and revitalized future defined by schisms of contemporary Black solace.” The shows are on view in Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, and New York.


CARLA JAY HARRIS, “The Ways of Gods,” 2020 (unique hand embellished archival pigment print, 44 x 65 inches). | © Carla Jay Harris, Courtesy the artist and Luis De Jesus Gallery

“Carla Jay Harris: A Season in the Wilderness” @ Luis De Jesus Los Angeles | Sept. 4-Oct. 30, 2021

After joining Luis De Jesus in July 2020, Los Angeles artist Carla Jay Harris is presenting her first exhibition with the gallery. She is showing large-scale works on paper, unique hand-embellished archival pigment prints. Made in response to the pandemic and last summer’s racial reckoning, the works document “intellectual, emotional, and psychological environments.”


Installation view of “Deborah Roberts: O’ Say Can’t You See,” Vielmetter Los Angeles (Sept. 4-Oct. 16, 2021). | Courtesy Vielmetter Los Angeles

“Deborah Roberts: O’ Say Can’t You See” @ Vielmetter Los Angeles | Sept. 4-Oct. 16 2021

For her second show at the gallery, Austin, Texas-based Deborah Roberts is presenting new collages on canvas and paper. The title of the exhibition alters text from the national anthem and asks, “can’t you see these children as children, deserving of the same care and dignity afforded to their peers?”


JERRELL GIBBS, “C Note,” 2021 (oil on canvas, 80 × 90 inches / 203.2 × 228.6 cm). | © Jerrell Gibbs, Courtesy the artist and Marian Ibrahim

“Jerrell Gibbs: Sounds of Color: Recorded Memories” @ Marian Ibrahim, Chicago | Sept. 4 – Oct. 22, 2021

For his inaugural solo exhibition at Mariane Ibrahim, Baltimore artist Jarrell Gibbs is presenting a new body of figurative paintings. His color palette and subject give the group a sense of harmony. The same little boy is featured in all of the various works. His singular presence has universal symbolism, representing “a multitude of voices, ideas, and ways of living.”


LAKELA BROWN, From left, “IMPRESSED,” 2021 (plaster and acrylic, 45 1/4 x 33 1/8 x 2 1/4 inches); and “Composition of 10 Golden Doorknocker Impressions with Chickenheads,” 2021 (paster and acrylic 30 x 21 1/4 x 2 1/2 inches). | © LaKela Brown. Courtesy the artist and Reyes | Finn

“LaKela Brown: Impressed” @ Reyes | Finn in Detroit, Mich. | Sept. 2-Oct. 16, 2021

Detroit-born, New York-based LaKela Brown is showing new plaster reliefs made while she was in residence at Popps Packing in Detroit and a new series of embossed handmade paperworks produced with Dieu Donné, the Brooklyn papermaking studio. Working with door-knocker hoop earrings, rope chain necklaces, and chicken heads—objects of adornment and symbols of derision—Brown looks to recent history for her abstracted representations of Black women.


BRITTNEY LEEANNE WILLIAMS, From left, “Door 7,” 2021 (oil on canvas, 80 x 36 inches / 203 x 91 cm); “Door 5: Swallowed Romanticism,” 2021 (oil on canvas, 80 x 36 inches, 203 x 91 cm); “Door 4: Mother, Daughter,” 2021 (oil on canvas, 80 x 32 inches / 203 x 81 cm). | © Brittney Leeanne Williams (3), Courtesy the artist and The Hole

“Brittney Leeanne Williams: The Body Knows Its Door” @ The Hole, New York, N.Y. | Sept. 7-Oct. 10, 2021

Nine large paintings sized to the dimensions of a standard door are the focus of Brittney Leeanne Williams‘s latest exhibition. Employing rich and intense color palettes, the works function as a series of doorways into Black women’s psychological experiences and the body’s interior landscapes. Chicago-based Williams hails from Los Angeles.


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