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Deborah Roberts

Artist 156 Deborah Roberts African American Identity Challenging Beauty Stereotypes Mixed Media Art

Deborah Roberts (American, b. 1962) is a mixed media artist whose work challenges the notion of ideal beauty.

She describes her art practice in how it takes on social commentary, critiquing perceptions of ideal beauty. Stereotypes and myths are challenged in the work.

“I create a dialogue between the ideas of inclusion, dignity, consumption, and subjectivity by addressing beauty in the form of the ideal woman, the Venus. By challenging Venus, my work challenges the notion of universal beauty—making room for women of color who are not included in this definition.” - Deborah Roberts

She engages the viewer to wade through her work, to look through the multiple layers, double meanings and symbols. Her process combines found and manipulated images with hand drawn and painted details to create hybrid figures.

These figures often take the form of young girls. She explains, “I’m interested in the way young girls symbolize vulnerability but also a naïve strength. The girls who populate my work, while subject to societal pressures and projected images, are still unfixed in their identity. Each girl has character and agency to find their own way amidst the complicated narratives of American, African American and art history.”


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