Anthony Meier Online Main Site
Skip to content

ERICA DEEMAN: Familiar Stranger 


25 August – 29 September 2020

Content

Erica Deeman

Untitled 01 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 01 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 01 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 01 (Self Portrait), 2020

Detail view

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 01 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Anthony Meier Fine Arts is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by San Francisco-based artist Erica Deeman. In her second solo exhibition at the gallery, entitled Familiar Stranger, Deeman turns the camera on herself for the first time, sharing 15 intimate self-portraits rendered in Cassius Obsidian clay. In this new series, Deeman continues her reflections on diasporic and transnational movements, Black permanence and the nuance of cultural identity.

"The works of Familiar Stranger begin as black-and-white photographic self-portraits which Deeman then prints as molds via a 3D printer. Cassius Obsidian clay is then pressed into the molds, left to dry for a week, and then fired twice. In the first firing the clay shrinks, cracks, becomes at once volatile and delicate. It is only in the second firing that the pieces take on their ebony veneer. It is significant that though of the earth, Deeman has chosen a human-made clay, mixed in her adopted home of California, a material suited to the artist’s exploration of the roots and routes of her own diasporic identity. "

- Leigh Raiford, Associate Professor of African American Studies at the University of California at Berkeley

Content

Erica Deeman

Untitled 02 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 02 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 02 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 02 (Self Portrait), 2020

Detail view

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 02 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

"The camera may not always render you in the manner that you see yourself, and that’s okay; it can only allude to the complexity of existence and being."

- Erica Deeman in conversation with Essence Harden, independent curator, arts writer, and PhD. Candidate, University of California at Berkeley

Content

Erica Deeman

Untitled 03 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 03 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 03 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 03 (Self Portrait), 2020

Detail view

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 03 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Content

Erica Deeman

Untitled 04 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 04 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 04 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 04 (Self Portrait), 2020

Detail view

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 04 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

"Identity, as Black British cultural theorist Stuart Hall tells us, is always a process of becoming, never a final arrival. And indeed photography often fails when it is understood as confirmation of fixed (and often fictitious) truths. But when understood as a way of encountering the world and oneself in it, photography can be a site of new knowledge and infinite possibility. The process that Deeman has developed for Familiar Stranger (which takes its name from the title of Hall’s posthumously published memoir), reveals the terrains upon and through which her diasporic identity is forged, landscapes always latent in the photograph."

- Leigh Raiford

 

 

Content

Erica Deeman

Untitled 05 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 05 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 05 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 05 (Self Portrait), 2020

Detail view

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 05 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Content

Instagram Live talk between the artist and New York-based art critic, writer, and curator Antwaun Sargent on 15 September 2020.

Content

Erica Deeman

Untitled 06 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 06 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 06 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 06 (Self Portrait), 2020

Detail view

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 06 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

"We never really arrive at who we are, we are in this continual state of becoming. I think a lot about my grandparents and my mum moving to the U.K. from Jamaica and the experiences they faced. They thrived and found joy in what I know was a difficult transition for them. They made a journey, physical and through time to a different identity. They are very much of Hall’s writings. As a first-generation, dual heritage, Black British person I have chosen to move and live in an alternative land to my birth. There have definitely been complex problems of identity through this movement yet it’s given rise to creative possibilities. There’s definitely a parallel in our family experiences."

- Erica Deeman in conversation with Essence Harden

Content

Erica Deeman

Untitled 07 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 07 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 07 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 07 (Self Portrait), 2020

Detail view

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 07 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Content

Erica Deeman

Untitled 08 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 08 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 08 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 08 (Self Portrait), 2020

Detail view

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 08 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

"From a distance, they appear to be abstractly textured ceramic shards, but upon closer inspection, Deeman’s own face comes into view. The striations of her skin and, the topography of her hair, combine to reveal an intimate geography of Black womanhood." 

- Leigh Raiford

Content

Erica Deeman

Untitled 09 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 09 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 09 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 09 (Self Portrait), 2020

Detail view

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 09 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Content

Erica Deeman

Untitled 10 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 10 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 10 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 10 (Self Portrait), 2020

Detail view

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 10 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

"The Cassius Obsidian clay acts as a unifier between my body and the land. Through the visible imprint/reliefs made, there’s a different type of permanence to the light-exposed paper, the laying of ink on paper, and the digital world. I was drawn to it thinking about the museum, the artifact, the Black body, and permanence. As a culture I ask, what will we leave to be remembered by? It was something that struck me as I stood in front of the items I photographed for the 1619 Project (New York Times). In the history of the Black diaspora that we share, we find remnants of ourselves, an historical presence."

- Erica Deeman in conversation with Essence Harden

Content

Erica Deeman

Untitled 11 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 11 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 11 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 11 (Self Portrait), 2020

Detail view

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 11 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Content

Erica Deeman

Untitled 12 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 12 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 12 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 12 (Self Portrait), 2020

Detail view

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 12 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

"Through placing the photograph into a larger set of questions about history and hapticality, Familiar Stranger responds to and attempts to resolve these conundra. Deeman calls these works sculptures, but I prefer to think of them instead as ceramics, objects that have everyday use. As fragments they function as inventories, archeologies of the self; they move us from the archival to the archeological, from the time of photography to geologic time. They insist that the terms of belonging can be found simultaneously across time, place and medium."

- Leigh Raiford

Content

Erica Deeman

Untitled 13 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 13 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 13 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 13 (Self Portrait), 2020

Detail view

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 13 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Content

Erica Deeman

Untitled 14 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 14 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 14 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 14 (Self Portrait), 2020

Detail view

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 14 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

"I love that idea of the photograph as an unreliable narrator, like a memory that you recall over time, never consistent, moving and changing in interpretation, like how we interpret our lives to our inner selves."

- Erica Deeman in conversation with Essence Harden

Content

Erica Deeman

Untitled 15 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 15 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 15 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 15 (Self Portrait), 2020

Detail view

$6,500.

Inquire

Erica Deeman

Untitled 15 (Self Portrait), 2020

Cassius Obsidian clay, unique in a series

Framed Dimensions:

10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

26.7 x 22.2 x 7 cm

Edition of 3

$6,500.

Inquire
Deeman bio

Photograph by Robert Alleyne, San Francisco

Erica Deeman (b. 1977) lives and works in San Francisco, CA. Deeman received a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Public Relations, degree in 2000 from Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, UK, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Photography, a degree in 2014 from Academy of Art, San Francisco, CA.

 

Deeman is the recipient of 2019 Headlands Center for the Arts Residency, Sausalito, CA; a 2016 TOSA Award Finalist; the 2015 ProArts 2 x 2 Solos 2015: Emerging Artists; and the 2015 Working Artists Grant.  

 

Deeman has had solo exhibitions at Anthony Meier Fine Arts, San Francisco, CA; Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Archive, Berkeley, CA; Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, CA, and Laurence Miller Gallery, New York, NY; Domestic and international group exhibitions include Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Aberystwyth, UK; The Hive, Worcester, Worcestershire, UK; Municipal Gallery, Library and Cultural Centre, Dublin, Ireland; New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA; Old Truman Brewery, London, UK; Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ; Pier 24 Photography, San Francisco, CA; and SF Cameraworks, San Francisco, CA; and University of Derby, Derbyshire, UK.

 

Permanent collections include Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, CA; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College of Chicago, Chicago, IL; Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, CA; New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA; Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), Miami, FL; Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ; and Pilara Foundation Collection, San Francisco, CA.

Downloadable Media

“Shifting Photography’s Grounds” Essay by Leigh Raiford
“Shifting Photography’s Grounds” Essay by Leigh Raiford
Q & A between Essence Harden and Erica Deeman
Press Release
Press Release
Artist CV
Artist CV

“Shifting Photography’s Grounds” Essay by Leigh Raiford

 

 

Leigh Raiford

Erica Deeman: Familiar Stranger

“Shifting Photography’s Grounds”

 

 

Embedded in every photograph is the trace of its failure, the impossibility of the task of “faithful” and “true” representation which we have assigned to the medium, and on which we insist despite knowing better. No matter the photograph’s technical perfection, its careful framing, the beauty of its protagonist, the care taken in the darkroom or editing software, photographs are often not enough or too much. This is especially true of Black people’s engagements with photography. And since the inception of the medium circa the 1830s, the photograph more often than not has been a site of violence or an aspirational attempt to counter the violence of capture, imprisonment, repetition, fixity. Inevitably photography fails. 

 

Photographer Erica Deeman’s new body of work, Familiar Stranger, is born from the artist’s frustration with her chosen medium; it marks an effort to expand her own practice, and an attempt to push the boundaries of what we have allowed photography to be. A series of fifteen very black, irregularly shaped sculptures, each approximately 4½ by 3½ inches, the works float in simple white shadow boxes. From a distance they appear abstractly textured ceramic shards, but upon closer inspection, Deeman’s own face comes into view. The striations of her skin, the topography of her hair, combine to reveal an intimate geography of Black womanhood. The transubstantiation of photograph into sculpture, also registers the traces of Deeman’s fingerprints. The evidence of the artist’s labor, often muted if not invisibilized in the final photographic image, is here made manifest in a photograph made into three-dimensional relief.   

 

Click here to read the full essay.

Q/A between Essence Harden and Erica Deeman, August 2020

 

 

Essence: Can you bring us along to the beginnings of this series? How did space (both physical and mental) and access (to time and technology) at the Headlands residency guide this process?

 

Erica: The initial thinking began, as always, with a series of questions, the most important centered on what more could a photograph be? Within its fixed state and presentation, could I add dimension? In adding dimension could it transcend between literal and abstracted visions of the portrait? I sat in my studio in San Francisco and thought for a long time about this journey and what I had access to in terms of resources. I craved the fluidity of working with other mediums, so I learned how to use the kiln and gained access to a 3D printer in the studio complex.

 

At the time, I didn’t have the completed vision. Each tool felt so separate—the camera, the 3D printer, and the clay—and yet I knew intuitively that something interesting could happen.

 

Click here to read the full Q&A.

PRESS RELEASE

 

ERICA DEEMAN: Familiar Stranger

25 August – 29 September 2020

 

Anthony Meier Fine Arts is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by San Francisco-based artist Erica Deeman (b. 1977, Nottingham, UK). In her second solo exhibition at the gallery, entitled Familiar Stranger (a reference to Stuart Hall’s Autobiography, Familiar Stranger: A Life Between Two Islands), Deeman forges a pathway between photography and sculpture, sharing 15 intimate self-portraits rendered in Cassius Obsidian clay. In this new series, Deeman continues her reflections on diasporic and transnational movements, Black permanence and the nuance of cultural identity.

 

In Familiar Stranger, Deeman turns the camera on herself for the first time creating portraits and processes that explore transfiguration and the overlapping and fluidity of identity. Black and white photographs are rendered into unique, abstracted, hand-made self-portraits in clay with the aid of 3D-printing techniques. For Deeman, the clay not only represents the land but a sense of belonging. The black clay sculptures reflect back contrast and detail in its darkness - a visible tension between time, technology, and the creative technique.