Skin color, a physical and tangible form of marking identity, is examined in Barbara Carrasco’s acrylic paintings. Making use of a pop aesthetic with bright colors and a flat style of painting, Carrasco’s portraits are a reflection of her experience as a light-skinned Chicana desiring of darker skin for acceptance into her own community. While Western ideals of beauty laud light skin, Carrasco instead associates light skin with oppression. The history of light skin is often attached to Anglo-Europeans and its admiration in many corners of the world was promulgated by Western imperialism. Postcolonial discourse has made available the critique of light skin and an assertion of a non-Anglo-European identity politics in both the United States and the world. Self-Portrait (1994), a poignant piece featured in this exhibition, depicts Carrasco’s own “problem” with light skin. Carrasco also comments on light skin as a determining element for how people are treated with Patssi (2003), a portrait of her much darker sister that illustrates a story of the dynamic that exists between Carrasco’s communities and skin color. As Carrasco examines the politics of physical characteristics, she also makes bold comments on the complexities that are harbored in skin color within an othered community within a dominant white culture.
Barbara Carrasco is an artist and muralist who has created numerous
works which have been exhibited throughout the US, Europe, and Latin
America: The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA (1996), Armand Hammer Museum
(1995, 1999), Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art (1988), Museo del
Chopo, Mexico (1984), and the Mexican Museum (1992). Her work has been
featured in numerous publications: Los Angeles Times, New York Times,
USA Today, Artforum, Boston Globe, New England Journal, High Performance,
and Flash Art.
|BROAD TERRITORIES : IMAGES OF IDENTITY|