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Brenna Youngblood: abstracted realities

Fri Nov 13 2015 – Sun Apr 17 2016

Seattle Art Museum

Third Floor Galleries

Brenna Youngblood explores the iconography of public and private experiences and issues of identity, ethics, and representation. A prolific artist, she freely experiments with aspects of formalism, materials, and processes as part of her rigorous studio practice. With a background in photomontage, Youngblood builds the surfaces of many paintings simultaneously while assessing the relationships between each object in formation. Humor and satire are intuitively interwoven in the choices she makes about composition, line, form, and content.

"
Imperfection is especially important to me in creating an abstract foundation that makes the eye travel. I’m not trying to render with paint, but with photograph imagery layered over washy, painted backgrounds.
"
– Brenna Youngblood

Trained as a photographer, Youngblood’s early work—layered photomontages drawn from her everyday life—incorporated images of her family and friends, storefronts, police cars, and snapshots of domestic objects, such as bare light bulbs, cheap wood veneer paneling, TVs, and aging upholstery. This exhibition features later work addressing the formal qualities of imagery and objects. In her version of abstract—with a nod to conceptualism, figuration, and the real—Youngblood makes painterly work that is mindful of architectural, social, and political cues. She often refers to many of these beautifully rendered works as landscapes.

Brenna Youngblood: Abstracted Realities is organized by Sandra Jackson-Dumont, guest curator of the exhibition and SAM’s former Deputy Director of Education and Public Programs/Adjunct Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.

SAM’s Gwendolyn Knight | Jacob Lawrence Prize is awarded bi-annually to an early career black artist—an individual who has been producing mature work for less than 10 years.

Brenna Youngblood is a recipient of the Seattle Art Museum’s Gwendolyn Knight | Jacob Lawrence Prize. Funding for the prize and exhibition is provided by the Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence and Jacob Lawrence Endowment and generous support from the Jacob and Gwendolyn Lawrence Foundation. The exhibition is organized by the Seattle Art Museum. Additional support provided by contributors to the SAM Fund.

Image: Chuck Taylor, 2015, Brenna Youngblood, American, b. 1979, color photograph and acrylic on canvas, 72 x 60 in. Courtesy of the artist and Honor Fraser Gallery.