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So what, the dam work changed!

Most artist go their entire art life creating the same type of work. Some never pushing the boundaries beyond what they are comfort with or never bring their work to the edge and letting it fall over to create something new ... something different. Just like everyone else I have seen work like this and said .. "what if?.. they " but is this any of my business?!  Not really.
My work began to change years before I allowed it to, for example, I did a cover piece for a local magazine in Austin and the art was so different from the current Noman Rockwell stuff I had been doing for years it surprise even me. This change was always lurking in my work, so one summer I just let go. I let go of what was working and let crazy, imperfect, weird, unrecognizable, terrible, amateurish art happen. I created work that held no loyalty to clients, schools, friends, other artists and galleries. It was liberating in so many ways but what i didn't anticipate was the total loss of my art business. I lost clients and supporters who were so invested in my practice that they felt betrayed and made it clear that they felt I was now doing work for white (??) people and that I was no longer doing work that was understandable to Black people. Really? What no one was seeing at the time was I was honoring the work and my practice as an artist. Just like human beings art is about growth both in scholarship and in practice and It matters how you allow that growth to happen. The images I were doing were fine but they were no longer challenging to me. I forgot how it felt to struggle with issues such as multi surfaces, themes, materials, text, and media.
I have always done work about identity and race I'm just no longer giving it to you. This work requires you to see beyond the surface. Yes, there's a huge difference in the work I did in the past and my current work, but most importantly, what haven't change is the fact the work still challenges the notions of Blackness, fragility and beauty in social issues and contemporary politics.


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The Spelman College Museum of Art is showing "Deborah Roberts: The Evolution of Mimi" through May 19. The exhibition features work Roberts has made in the last half-decade, work that uses collage and girlhood to examine issues of race, gender, and America's present condition. It was curated by Andrea Barnwell. San Francisco's Jenkins Johnson Gallery just opened an exhibition of Roberts' work called "Uninterrupted." It's on view through March 17.
Deborah Roberts was recently included in the group exhibition "Fictions" at the Studio Museum in Harlem. Her work is in the collections of the Studio Museum, the Blanton at the University of Texas, and the Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University.
The Spelman College Museum has uploaded a conversation between Barnwell and Roberts. Part one is here
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About last year

Last year was a crazy, exciting and exhilarating year for me, I went to the Volta Art Fair in March and everything I thought I knew as an artist changed over night. All of a sudden everything I always wanted happened, that magical sun light found me waiting for my moment. I have always honored my practice, did what was necessary and let the works move me in the direction it need to go. I've dealt with disappointments, failures, missed opportunities and fear of change but this isn't anything unusual, most artist go through these things everyday.
I'm nothing special, I think this can happen to any artist who works hard and is passionate about their work and accepts that its not about them but the work.
I told myself the other day when I felt exhausted from travel that the other side of success is poverty and I've done that, so get up and go work in the studio because while nothing last forever and it's up to me to stay focus, keep my feet planted and to continue to …