“My influences are not only visual, they’re also literary.” —Daphne Arthur
Daphne Arthur is a contemporary Latina artist whose work features other-worldly, exotic, and abstract pieces that depict the human form and natural settings. Through a collaboration of various tools and mediums—such as painting, sculpture, drawing and collages—Arthur seeks to create a unique aesthetic that focuses on issues related to race, gender, religion, and cultural identity. Her work is rich with layers, filled with various elements with their own purpose. The smoky, supernatural—and often hallucinatory—quality found in many of her pieces captures the viewer, inviting us to look deeper.
Arthur’s Frente a Frente (2013) piece, for example, depicts what appears to be a ghastly post-apocalyptic setting. The blighted scene reveals a decaying infrastructure with a toxic gas or liquid lurking below. To the right, a semi-nude young boy surveys the scene and is seemingly unbothered by what’s in front of him. Below him, a woman peeks from his side. She’s looking away from the chaos and directly at the viewer in an almost voyeuristic way. Her relationship with the boy is unknown. And if you look closely in the lower right corner, it almost appears she’s without a body.
Grasses of Green Lemon Drops (2012), similarly depicts a desolated scene. However, it has a serene quality that’s not present in the daunting Frente a Frente. Vegetation sprouts throughout the composition; trees erect through the ceiling. A soft light finds its way into the interior, emphasizing the beauty of nature among humanity’s creations.
According to Arthur, the ambiguous visualization in her pieces is intentional:“I was interested in perception and the psychology of viewing. Fumage, the formal name for this technique, is in fact, reflections of smoke captured on paper… inspired by film noir and Japanese art from the Edo period the smoke drawings contemplatively capture a dreamlike trance or essence of a psychologically constructed space.”
Authur has exhibited in group shows like Edge Art: Black-Latino(a) Artists, An Inter-Caribbean Dialogue (City College of New, NY), the Young Latina Artists 19: Y, Qué? (Mexic-Arte Museum in Austin, TX) and more
Here’s a really fun interview with Arthur by Rare:
To learn more about Daphne Arthur ad her work, visit her site here.
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