Anthony Meier is pleased to present Emerging States, Erica Deeman’s third exhibition at the gallery, which will continue her multidisciplinary practice that engages with the hybridity of Black diasporic identity, journeys, and the passage of her maternal family from Jamaica to the United Kingdom as part of the Windrush Generation. On view from 7 September to 20 October 2023, the exhibition features a new series of photographs that further expand upon the artist’s experiments in portraiture and includes a new sculptural neon work Points of Memory from her Being series in the gallery’s exhibition window facade.
Deeman’s new series of self-portraits conjure a distinct sense of movement and the innate fluidity of identity. Neutral Density filters traditionally used in photographic studio lighting, varying in texture and opacity, float over each portrait, obfuscating the image below. The ethereal, flowing effects, and points of emergence speak to the artist’s queer, transnational, and Black diasporic becoming a British-Jamaican and the liminal and transitory states of Black selfhood. A hand-cut window in the film of each is a place of emergence, a point of observance. These intentional shapes serve as symbolic references to boundaries and collective reclamation.
This body of work continues the research initiated in Deeman’s previous exhibition at Anthony Meier in 2020 titled Familiar Stranger for which she rendered black and white photographic self-portraits as abstracted, hand-made, low-relief sculptures in obsidian clay with the aid of 3D-printing techniques. Through such material transfigurations, Deeman considered notions of Black permanence as well as the nuances and multiplicity of cultural identity.
Deeman further delves into her origins through material choices in the newest neon sculpture Points of Memory from her Being series which is displayed in the gallery's exhibition window facade. Written in Deeman’s handwriting, the neon letters of the nebulous word “being” rest on a background made from wood and hand-painted with Plaster of Paris - painted black. The material is made of dehydrated gypsum, a material native to the United Kingdom where Deeman was born as well as Jamaica, home to her maternal family. The material serves as a link between the artist’s relatives, who found work as coal miners after immigrating to the U.K. from Jamaica, and an early memory of breaking her arm and healing in a plaster cast. When situated in tandem with Deeman’s portraits, this piece and the exhibition as a whole illuminate the liminal and multiplicity of possibilities that memory, location, and origin, both personal, ancestral, and geopolitical, play in the formation of one’s selfhood.
ABOUT THE ARTIST:
Erica Deeman was born in 1977 in Nottingham, UK and lives and works in San Francisco, CA. Deeman received a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Public Relations, degree in 2000 from Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, UK, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Photography, degree in 2014 from Academy of Art, San Francisco, CA.
Deeman is the recipient of the 2019 Headlands Center for the Arts Residency, Sausalito, CA; a 2016 TOSA Award Finalist; the ProArts 2 x 2 Solos 2015: Emerging Artists; and the 2015 Working Artists Grant.
Deeman has had solo exhibitions at Anthony Meier Fine Arts, San Francisco, CA; Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Archive, Berkeley, CA; Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, CA, and Laurence Miller Gallery, New York, NY; Domestic and international group exhibitions include Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Aberystwyth, UK; The Hive, Worcester, Worcestershire, UK; Municipal Gallery, Library and Cultural Centre, Dublin, Ireland; New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA; Old Truman Brewery, London, UK; Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ; Pier 24 Photography, San Francisco, CA; and SF Cameraworks, San Francisco, CA; and University of Derby, Derbyshire, UK.
Permanent 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; Pier 24 Photography, San Francisco, CA and Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ.