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Erica Deeman: Familliar Stranger

25 August – 2 October 2020


Anthony Meier Fine Arts is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by San Francisco-based artist Erica Deeman (b. 1977, Nottingham, UK). In her second solo exhibition at the gallery, entitled Familiar Stranger (a reference to Stuart Hall’s Autobiography, Familiar Stranger: A Life Between Two Islands), Deeman forges a pathway between photography and sculpture, sharing 15 intimate self-portraits rendered in Cassius Obsidian clay. In this new series, Deeman continues her reflections on diasporic and transnational movements, Black permanence and the nuance of cultural identity.

In Familiar Stranger, Deeman turns the camera on herself for the first time creating portraits and processes that explore transfiguration and the overlapping and fluidity of identity. Black and white photographs are rendered into unique, abstracted, hand-made self-portraits in clay with the aid of 3D-printing techniques. For Deeman, the clay not only represents the land but a sense of belonging. The black clay sculptures reflect back contrast and detail in its darkness - a visible tension between time, technology, and the creative technique.

Deeman began refining this new process while in residence at Headlands Center for the Arts in 2019. During this same period, she was commissioned by The New York Times to document artifacts from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture for the 1619 Project, deeply impacting her view of the artifact, and the fraught relationship between past and contemporary depictions and ownership. 

The exhibition will be accompanied by an essay by Leigh Raiford (Associate Professor of African American Studies at the University of California at Berkeley), and an interview between the artist and Essence Harden (independent curator, arts writer, and PhD. Candidate, University of California at Berkeley) – published on Anthony Meier Online (AMO), the gallery’s online exhibition platform. An Instagram Live talk between the artist and New York-based art critic, writer, and curator Antwaun Sargent will coincide with the exhibition - taking place on 15 September 2020 at 6 pm EST / 3 pm PST.

Deeman is the recipient of 2019 Headlands Center for the Arts Residency, Sausalito, CA; a 2016 TOSA Award Finalist; the 2015 ProArts 2 x 2 Solos 2015: Emerging Artists; and the 2015 Working Artists Grant.  Selected public collections include Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, CA; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College of Chicago, Chicago, IL; Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, CA; New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA; Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), Miami, FL; Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ; and Pilara Foundation Collection, San Francisco, CA.

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