Black Invisibility- The Mirror Series. Acrylic on Mirror 14-15
The 10 piece mirror series focuses on the discourses of ‘race’ and representation within the gallery space. This exploration was initially provoked by an inIVA summer project and residency with collective SORRYYOUFEELUNCOMFORTABLE and artist Barby Asante.
The mirrors bear frames that emulate paintings of the renaissance period, with the opposition of a black face- making the black subject the centre of the piece. However, the journey of the portraits tell a story of removal, mimicking the visibility/invisibility of blackness within contemporary art and societal misrepresentation. Some of the faces painted are famous writers, self-portraits and people of an array of ages. Various portraits have a direct reference to historical paintings (such as portrait number 3- a direct response to Vermeer’s ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ c.1665).
Creating a space with elements of discomfort is heightened with the absence of natural light and the addition of a singular spotlight. The ethos of confrontation is channeled heavily through the journey of this series. The mirror as a canvas engages a dialogue of belonging and encourages conversations around the power of reflection. This artwork additionally questions spatial disposition, institutional critique and self-awareness.
Background on Mirror Paintings:
Alicia Melanie does not see herself in art galleries. She paints on mirrors to convey that fact. Mirrors that bear frames that emulate paintings of the renaissance period- however, with black faces. She challenges the notions of blackness as authority, institutional critique and the power of reflection. A true comment upon the direction of art history.