Critics’ Picks

View of “Tamarind,” 2019.

Los Angeles

Adee Roberson

Women’s Center for Creative Work
2425 Glover Place
May 18–July 18, 2019

In her paintings and built environments, Adee Roberson cathartically deploys colors to clear the air of white supremacy’s curses. But in “Tamarind,” her exhibition of sacralized portraits of black figures at the Women’s Center for Creative Work, she seeks more to fashion a place for remembrance.

Within the small gallery, the walls pulsate with pink and teal paint. One wall is papered over with screen-printed menus offering items such as cucumber juice and cow foot stew; although the restaurant is unidentified, the tessellation of its offerings implies the artist’s intimacy with its dishes. Throughout the space, Roberson has hung screen-printed photographs that she processed in hues of rose and cerulean. The range of images, their titles, and their informality suggest that they are sourced from a family archive. In one of the more formal shots, sweets and shasha (all works 2019), two girls with bows in their hair are sitting in front of a backdrop and smiling at the camera. A streak of dawn pink wafts through the center of the image, as if joining the kids with the sky. In the snapshot Aunt Audrey, a large-eyed beauty in a halter top looks tenderly at the photographer; fuchsia ink veils her head. Visitors can sit on a dark carpet with four pillows to look up at the collage Sister Charmaine, of a gilt-haloed woman singing into a microphone, and the collage I’m in Love (Jennifer Lara Portrait), of a lady with a calm expression festooned with pink glitter and blue sequins.

Fittingly, Roberson’s largest work is an altar, which takes the form of an abstract figure with its arms raised, supporting a candle and two protective crystals. Here, ancestors might be honored in an atmosphere of love and longing.