BY Mark Van Proyen POSTED 19 February 2018

The hopes, frustrations and perilous potentials of African-American girlhood provide the subject matter for Deborah Roberts’ new series of 14 collages....Each simultaneously embraces and steps away from most of the well-known examples of the African-American collage tradition as practiced by the likes of Romare Beardon and updated by Mickalene Thomas, among many others....Whereas the work of those prior artists makes a point of placing their figurative protagonists in complex, highly narrativized environments, Roberts purposefully separates her figures from any indication of context save that which might be inferred from their flamboyant dress, ungainly body language and ambivalent facial expressions.  All of these aspects come together to force the viewer to take note of what is truly salient about them, that being their affecting call for the viewer to exercise a particular kind of empathy toward the cobbled-together identities of young persons who, through no fault of their own, are represented in a state of uncomfortable isolation, with all of its potential peril.


portfolio: her breakthrough women

BY Amy Larocca

The New York Magazine, February 5, 2018 Issue

"The artist Deborah Roberts creates multimedia collages concerned with the challenges faced by black women and girls. 'I think all girls, but in particular black girls, start to question their own ideas of beauty when they're around 8 or 9," Roberts says. 'Black society is a matriarchal society. We assert our independence much earlier because we have to. These girls are powerful and vulnerable at the same time.'"

"For this project, Roberts, who frequently creates images of young girls, used more adults than she usually does–Rihanna's eyes, Michelle Obama's arms, and Issa Rae's hands, among others. She calls these subjects her "breakthrough women" and imagines them as the future of the girls she typically depicts. 'These women, they broke through!' she says, 'They told Misty Copeland she was too short, too old. She broke through! Rosa Parks sat down and didn't get up. She broke through!'"

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By Tyler Green

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“The Evolution of Mimi,” which conflates the album titles “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” and Carey’s “The Emancipation of Mimi,” puts selections from the last decade of Roberts’ work onto the walls of the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art.

“Lauryn Hill was so powerful and she knew who she was and her own identity,” Roberts says. “And Mariah Carey was going through this thing where people [were questioning] whether she was black or not, whether she was black enough. I wanted to merge those two ideas into what was black feminism.”

Here’s the List of 19 Emerging Artists to Feature in New Studio Museum Show

BY Carolyn Twersky POSTED 08/23/17 2:34 PM

Deborah Roberts, The Bearer, 2017. 


The Studio Museum in Harlem announced the list of 19 artists to show this fall in “Fictions,” the fifth of the institution’s so-called “F-series” exhibitions of emerging artists. (Past F-series shows, dating back to 2001, have included “Freestyle,” “Frequency,” “Fore,” and “Flow.”)

Opening September 14 and continuing into January 2018, “Fictions” was curated by the museum’s associate curator for its permanent collection, Connie H. Choi, and assistant curator Hallie Ringle. Works in the show draw on a variety of media and, as a group, “investigate the complexities of the contemporary moment,” according to a description of the show. 

In a statement, Thelma Golden, the Studio Museum’s director and chief curator, said, “I am thrilled that Hallie and Connie are continuing the legacy of our beloved ‘F-shows’ with a new presentation of a diverse group of artistic voices, bringing to Harlem insightful perspectives from locations around the country, including Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, and Texas.” 

The emerging artists to be presented in “Fictions” are as follows: 

Deborah Roberts: One and Many
November 29th, 2014 – BETSY HUETE

With the exception of one misstep, One and Many, Deborah Roberts’ current solo show at Art Palace, is raw, painful, beautiful, grotesque, vulnerable, and vicious. The first line of her handout quotes James A. Baldwin: “People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them.” Roberts carries on her shoulders the Post-Black ideologies that she grapples with. Through paint, collage, and sculpture, she is locating herself within three histories she has inherited—of being black, of being a woman, and of being an artist working within the largely white, chauvinistic modernist vocabulary of photocollage and abstract painting.

Pollock- Krasner Foundation Grant 2016- 2017 grantee

Upcoming Events:

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts: Artist Talk. March 28, 2018 12pm-1pm

Syracuse University: Artist Talk. March 1, 2018 6pm-8pm

Luis De Jesus Los Angeles: "SOUL RECORDINGS", Feb 17, 2018 - March 24, 2018

Jenkins Johnson Gallery: "Deborah Roberts, Uninterrupted", Feb 1, 2018- March 17, 2018

Spelman College Museum of Fine Art: "Deborah Roberts: The Evolution of Mimi", Jan 25, 2018 - May 19, 2018

Bakalar & Paine Galleries at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design: "Legacy of the Cool : A Tribute to Barkley L. Hendricks", Jan 17, 2018 - March 3, 2018

Miami ArtBasel in Miami, FL: December 5-10, 2017.

Fort Gansevoort Gallery in New York City, NY: "Ingenue", November 9, 2017- December 23, 2017.

Art Expo Fair Chicago,  Chicago, Ill: Jenkins -Johnson Gallery, Sept 14-17,  2017.

Studio Museum of Harlem in Harlem, NY: "Fictions", September 1, 2017-January 7 2018.

National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago, Ill: "The House on Mango Street Exhibition", April 2015- Summer of 2016.