Vivid Paintings by Artist Jessica Spence Highlight the Beauty of Black Hair

“Braids and Barrettes” (2018 ), acrylic on canvas. All images © Jessica Spence

Through stunning renderings of Black children and women, Jamaican-American artist Jessica Spence explores the beauty of finished braids, twists held in place with plastic barrettes, and perfectly laid edges. Her acrylic paintings generally depict a single subject, who often is turned away from the viewer, centering the hair and how it’s presented rather than the person’s face. Spence focuses on the intricacies of each lock, comparing the styling process to that of painting. “I nurtured each brushstroke like I would a strand of hair, a two-strand twist, or a braid,” she shares with Colossal.

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Based in New York, the artist imbues her paintings with social commentary derived from her own experiences and from those around her. She considers the impossibility of beauty standards, by saying:

I was inspired to create my current body of work on Black hair in response to the discrimination and chastising experience of many Black women and girls in spaces such as the workplace or schools… The paintings show the beauty and versatility of these hairstyles and highlight the significance of hair in Black culture, while also highlighting these intimate experiences and routines of daily life.

For more of Spence’s vivid depictions, follow her on Instagram, where she often shares news on upcoming exhibitions and prints available for purchase. (via The Jealous Curator)

 

Left: “Twists and Barrettes” (2019), acrylic on canvas, 24 x 24 inches. Right: “Laid” (2019), acrylic on canvas, 24 x 24 inches

“Sore Arms” (2017), acrylic on canvas, 36 x 36 inches

Left: “Fearless/Fear-Less” (2019), acrylic on canvas, 30 x 30 inches. Right: “Weekends at Auntie’s” (2018), acrylic on canvas, 40 x 40 inches

“Sunday Evening” (2017), acrylic on canvas, 36 x 36 inches

Source: thisiscolossal.com

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