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Deborah Roberts (American, born 1962). That One, 2018. Mixed media collage on canvas, 50 x 120 inches (127 x 304.8 cm). Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Pending Acquisition Funds, 2019 (2019:13.1). © Deborah Roberts. Courtesy of the artist and Vielmetter Los Angeles. Photo credit: Robert Wedemeyer.

Recent Acquisition Spotlight: Deborah Roberts

March 17, 2020

Around 2011, Deborah Roberts began experimenting with collage, pairing photographs and material from magazines with hand-drawn and painted additions to create her powerful portraits of African American girls—and, more recently, boys. 

Deborah Roberts (American, born 1962). The Front Lines, 2018. Mixed media collage on paper, 30 x 21 1/2 inches (76.2 x 54.6 cm). Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Pending Acquisition Funds, 2019 (2019:13.2). © Deborah Roberts. Courtesy of the artist and Vielmetter Los Angeles. Photo credit: Robert Wedemeyer.

In works such as That One and The Front Lines, Roberts aims to share her subjects’ “vulnerability, strength, and beauty” in the face of the joys and challenges of growing up as a person of color in the United States today. “By putting together different faces as one face,” she has explained, “it forces the viewer to look at that one face. Once you find that face, you find the humanity” that connects us all.

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