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Roberts Projects
5801 Washington Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90232
Appointment Recommended
323 549 0223
Established in 1999, Roberts Projects aims to foster diverse perspectives within a broader context of contemporary artistic practices through its exhibitions and programs, with a focus on artists with challenging, critical voices. The gallery represents multiple generations of internationally recognized, established artists as well as emerging artists. The gallery commissions projects in a variety of media, including painting, sculpture, photography, and film, and programming emphasizing museum-quality, installation-based exhibitions, specifically provocative interventions and expansive surveys of historical significance. The gallery's publication division specializes in exhibition catalogues, contemporary artists' texts, and art historical monographs.
Artists Represented:
Amoako Boafo
Dominic Chambers
Daniel Crews-Chubb
Michael Dopp
Egan Frantz
Lenz Geerk
Jeffrey Gibson
Eberhard Havekost
James Hayward
Wangari Mathenge
Evan Nesbit
Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe
Betye Saar
Ed Templeton
Evan Trine
Kehinde Wiley
Brenna Youngblood
Zhao Zhao

 
Online Programming

Jeffrey Gibson

Jeffrey Gibson: It Can Be Said of Them



Jeffrey Gibson’s exhibition will feature new work exploring themes of identity, as it relates to diversity and inclusivity, to uplift unique experiences, struggles and personal victories shaping the fight for LGBTQIA visibility. Taking its title from a print produced by Sister Corita Kent in 1969 of the same name, It Can Be Said of Them will be Gibson’s second show with the gallery.

 
Current Exhibitions

Amoako Boafo

SINGULAR DUALITY: ME CAN MAKE WE



September 18, 2021 - November 6, 2021
Roberts Projects is pleased to announce SINGULAR DUALITY: ME CAN MAKE WE, a solo exhibition by Amoako Boafo featuring new large-scale paintings that explore the tension of internal and external worlds, and of the complexities of shadow and light. Boafo’s second solo show with the gallery expands on his oeuvre representing and celebrating Blackness, while introducing significant new themes. Situated at a pivotal juncture between the artist's celebrated mode of figuration and the development of a complex visual language, these magnificent new paintings introduce the subject's shadow. At once connected yet separated, Boafo’s characters are enigmatically coupled with their shadows. In each of Boafo's newest paintings, light now casts a shadow, which becomes an image in its own right. Cantilevering outwards, shadows are rendered in muted but still luminous colors. As a result, Boafo’s paintings are now more archeological, more layered. Dark and light do not fuse into one another; rather, they oppose one another. The effect is not unlike Andy Warhol's Shadow series (1978-79), Goya's Black Paintings (ca. 1819-1823), or Francis Bacon’s Triptych, May–June 1973 (1973). This duality, or “two-ness” (Du Bois 1705), informs Boafo’s approach to shape and space and structure taking hold in paint. The visual tension, specifically the shifts between positive and negative space, is a departure from how subjects were previously painted in even illumination. All of the exhibited paintings continue to epitomize the bold yet simple colorful silhouettes typical of Boafo’s portraiture. His instantly recognizable strokes, imbued with rhythm and movement, accentuate the confidently applied hues of cerulean blue, yellow ochre, ripe reds and pinks. Loosely applied with his fingers, the paint used to depict skin tones of varying tonalities of black produces an illusion of three-dimensionality. Boafo also advances his earlier technique of using appliqué, transferring patterns from giftwrap papers to obtain rich textural effects to the paint surface. The emphasis is not merely to paint the figure, but to cultivate an atmosphere where, through texture and materials, reality is alchemized. Boafo's limitless diversity – as it relates to both his characters and himself – continues to prompt discussion on the complexities of identity, community, and race. Depicting people both within and outside his intimate circle, Boafo's characters occupy the dominant space of each composition. Emotionally poignant, at times melancholic, expressions reveal the subject’s character and state of mind. Domestic settings and relaxed, natural poses grant further insight into Boafo's relationships with his characters. Artists, writers, models or friends, these are men and women he celebrates through his portraits. Monstera Leaf Sleeves (2021) exemplifies Boafo’s exploration of the relationships between color and form, showing and hiding. Set against a dramatic yellow background, a young man in profile admires a clasped flower. He is isolated from the rest of the composition as the main focal point, joined only by the double-capture of his shadowed body. Stylish Overcoat (2021) shares the same characteristics. There is a conspicuous interaction of light and dark interplay between the main figure – a man stylishly outfitted in colorful clothing - and his shadow, which enveils him as would a halo. In an essay recording his confrontation with the work of Francis Bacon, Gilles Deleuze articulates how "the shadow escapes from the body like an animal we had been sheltering" (Deleuze 1981). Within each of Boafo paintings, there is a process through which each of his characters can engender their own experience, whereas their shadow forces a negotiation between intention and the actual world. Jung believed the shadow cast by the unconscious mind contains the hidden aspects of the individual (Henderson 1964); Boafo contends that our shadow, or alternate reality, knows us better. Boafo's painting is, at its core, a highly personal record of his and our existence during an extraordinary time. The desirous combination of the yearning and the deluge reflects on his and our moment: the coronavirus pandemic and its fallout; the impact of racial inequity; the effects of fame; balancing daily life; an uncertain, troubling future. He asks us how to discern between the two desires at odds in all people, and whether there is a possibility of redemption through growth? In seeking to remake the world in his own image, Boafo navigates the shadow cast by his own path. His individual style remains influenced by movements that include The Vienna Secession, though it is his contemporary sensibility that ensures his work looks to the future rather than to its past. Rather than simply painting what is there – witness earlier work – Boafo's pursual of the psychological depth of pictoral representation (Gombrich 1956) moves his ideas onwards. In this evolution, Boafo’s works find new meaning. With this show Amoako Boafo expands from superb Black representation to portraits that chart and encompass the totality of the human experience.

Betye Saar

Black Doll Blues



September 18, 2021 - November 6, 2021
“Betye Saar: Black Doll Blues” brings together a selection of new watercolor works on paper, portraits of Saar’s personal collection of Black dolls. Referencing the underrepresented history of Black dolls as seen through Saar’s artistic lens, the works on view distill several intersecting themes, imagery, and objects in Saar’s oeuvre, highlighting her prominent usage and reinvention of derogatory imagery. From 1880s European brown bisque dolls to dolls hand-made with found materials by enslaved people up to more recent examples such as Mattel’s 1968 first Black Barbie (Christie) or Addie of the American Girl Dolls, Black dolls often embodied the experiences and narratives of those who made them and/or received them. The Black dolls represent and reflect part of historical Black American culture. Characterizing Saar's unique practice, these watercolors showcase the artist’s experimentation with vivid colors, layered techniques, and new interest in flat shapes. While Saar has previously used painting in her mixed media collages, this is her first exhibition focusing on her watercolor works on paper. The exception in this exhibition is Rock-a-bye Black Babies, a tableau that features a child’s rocker holding dolls from Saar’s personal collection.

 
Upcoming Exhibitions

Dominic Chambers, Wangari Mathenge, Alexandre Diop

Amendments



November 13, 2021 - January 8, 2022
This exhibition brings together an inspired selection of artworks focusing on artists deconstructing history, experience, and perspective, and the dialogue around painting and identity, through contemporary portraiture.

Taylor White



November 13, 2021 - January 8, 2022
Large-scaled paintings are presented alongside more intimately scaled mixed-media work in Taylor White’s first exhibition with the gallery. Seen together, these works, and this exhibition, are as close to a perfect harmony as a dissonant melody can be. Large-scale paintings are presented alongside more intimately scaled mixed-media work. Dominating, colorful abstraction gives way to found and imagined landscapes as though seen through windows or down rifle scopes. Each painting has a tough balance within itself. Multilayered pieces contain sociological determinations between industrial and rural, memory and nostalgia, identity and community. Alienation from society, loss of identity, and the loss of self are buried in the deeper parts. White’s landscapes are deeply complex. He simplifies complicated, expressionistic forms, reducing them to a compressed field of reference. Natural elements are almost eliminated, replaced instead by a rational approach to construction and proportions. Flat and lacking in perspective, his landscapes bridge purely abstract ideas with real spaces. In a striking motif, rifle-scope magnification lines demarcate off-center compositions, and create disturbing and intense conversations between subject, background, and surrounding negative space. There is a stylistic authenticity in his style reminiscent of Twombly’s graphic linework–specifically in the graffiti-like text across White’s paintings–and in emotional tension of Fontana’s rough-hewn, tangible materials. The exhibition takes its title from Italo Calvino's novel Invisible Cities (1971), which explores the fictional dialogues between traveler Marco Polo and emperor Kublai Khan. The stories outlined by those involved are familiar; in his telling of the discovery and conquest of diverse cities, Calvino’s encapsulates the ubiquity of all cities, or, the every city. Evoking this familiarity, White’s newest work makes direct reference to the militarization of American historical memory, specifically in the discovery of “new” lands and the consequences of such exploration. Nine paintings–loosely based off the chapter count of Invisible Cities–are arranged in a tight line, with the center painting positioned as the midpoint of the installation. Target Fixation, a phenomenon as common to photographers as it is to soldiers, focuses the eye on the middle. Materials including cardboard, metal rivets, and assembled sewn objects, lends a raw, utilitarian appearance to the surface of each work. Thick amounts of layered paint further accentuate this effect.

 
Past Exhibitions

Daniel Crews-Chubb

Solitary Us: Couples Paintings



July 8, 2021 - August 14, 2021
The Couples paintings are a new series produced during the lockdown period in the UK due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They explore relationships and human interactions, and are self-reflective and reactionary to the sense of isolation and solitude the artist was feeling at the time. This follows “Chariots, Beasts, and Belfies,” the gallery’s inaugural presentation with the artist in 2018.

Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe

ONE BUT TWO (Haadzii)



June 5, 2021 - July 3, 2021
ONE BUT TWO (Haadzii) highlights new paintings continuing Quaicoe’s idiosyncratic perspective on Diasporic culture through the celebrated form of Black portraiture. The son of a twin, Quaicoe explores these complex relationships through dualistic representation and double portraiture in vivid large-scale paintings. This exhibition follows "Black Like Me," the gallery’s inaugural presentation with the artist and his first solo gallery exhibition in the United States, which took place January 2020.

Brenna Youngblood

Brenna Youngblood: the LIGHT and the DARK



March 20, 2021 - May 15, 2021
the LIGHT and the DARK, Brenna Youngblood’s inaugural exhibition at the gallery, takes as its genesis the artist's experience navigating the difficulties of last year and applying her lived experiences – endured as two separate but simultaneous realities – to her practice. From a deadly pandemic to a global movement for equitable racial justice, 2020 was defined by its world-shifting events. The works on view hold space for light and dark, and the material representation of both by taking into account their own considerations and possibly different ideas surrounding each, but as a whole the show is committed to Youngblood’s highly personal response to her particular memories and experiences addressing the events and issues we have seen unfold so far. the LIGHT and the DARK brings together twelve energy-filled mixed-media collages on canvas and board.

Rachel Rosenthal

Rachel Rosenthal: Thanks Collage Works from the 1970's



October 24, 2020 - December 12, 2020
Roberts Projects is delighted to announce Thanks: Collage Works from the 1970’s, an exhibition of works on paper by Rachel Rosenthal (1926-2015). Organized in collaboration with the Rachel Rosenthal Estate, the exhibition features never before exhibited collage works from the 1970's documenting Rosenthal’s autobiographical reflection of a pivotal time in her early artistic development. The show takes its title after the artist’s second performance at Wilshire Plaza West, Westwood, California (1975), in which she thanked those who had actively done something important for her, with the audience participating in the familiar roles of “father,” “mother” and “friend.” The performance marked the year of her mother’s death, twenty years after her father’s. At the end of performance, each of the participants received a small box containing a unique miniature collage work from the artist.

Amoako Boafo, Daniel Crews-Chubb, Lenz Geerk, Jeffrey Gibson, Wangari Mathenge, Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe, Betye Saar, Kehinde Wiley, Ardeshir Tabrizi

Synchronicity



September 19, 2020 - December 5, 2020
The Dalai Lama once said, “I am open to the guidance of synchronicity and I do not let expectations hinder my path,” meaning he allows himself the intervention of the unknown rather than being tied to any predetermined notions of what could or should be. Synchronicity, as it relates to the creation of art, follows the same principles in that all great art allows for the possibility of improvisation, chance or the “divine accident,” wherein the artist discovers inspiration in a place they might never have thought to look initially. In any circumstance, the improbable always yields more gold than the obvious. But how do artists recognize not only the importance of improbability, but foster this kind of high level receptivity? How do you find something by deliberately not seeking it out, knowing that in this ineffable gesture is the most powerful kind of artistic expression? It requires an understanding of the laws that govern the universe, or as Einstein once said, “the secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources, even from yourself,” that is, to have faith that what we are seeking in the living world is also seeking us; to receive everything, all we need do is to be open to it. This exhibition takes as its subject the nebulous, syncretic moment, celebrates the ambiguous gesture and expounds on the improbable instance where magical thinking occurs without our knowledge or awareness. For example, the paintings of Lenz Geerk investigate the strange and luminous distance between figures and objects, creating a force-field of psychologically charged spaces. Brenna Youngblood explores the boundaries between language and abstraction, investigating the nuances and complexities of words and how meanings can be subverted and reinterpreted, whereas Kehinde Wiley employs a more traditional painterly approach, using the visual language of old master portraiture to subvert myth and symbol alike. Beyte Saar’s sculptural investigations continue to compel and surprise while raising important questions about identity, as do Jeffrey Gibson’s contemporary sculptural figures. All the artists in this exhibition are not only imaginative and curious about the world around them, but also bring to their work a level of inquisitiveness that supersedes cognition - instead, privileging instinct - and both a playfulness and a willingness to commit to the improbable and the ambiguous to allow life’s riddles to remain unsolved. To continue the works’ challenge of conventional categories and their relationship to one another, this exhibition will open in phases, with individual pieces introduced throughout the duration of the exhibition.