Deana Lawson (American, born 1979)
40 x 51 in. (101.6 x 129.54 cm)
Museum Purchase, The Philip Conway Beam Endowment Fund and Gridley W. Tarbell II Fund, 2020.23
In Sharon, we see a woman, fully nude and posed confidently in what appears to be a bare room. The woman makes direct eye contact with the viewer, not shying away from her vulnerable appearance. Her almost regal presence is juxtaposed by the sparsity of the room, cheap-looking thin curtains and rumpled plastic blinds. Deana Lawson gives careful attention to the lighting and pose in order to transform the woman’s body into an intense expression of power and confidence. Here Lawson captures a vision of Black people that she could uniquely access. Her ability to relate to her subjects from a sense of shared community allows her to use portraiture to document and insert new views of Black people into American art, while countering traditional representations of the Black community.