Artwork by Mya Gordon

Artist Statement

I am a figure painter, born and raised in San Antonio Texas. My work interacts with the memories and responds to the experiences I’ve faced as a biracial woman. It actively creates a safe place for me to explore and rest with my blackness. 

I make paintings that manipulate and desecrate the white narrative of the west by uplifting Black figures in their stead. I do this work because it helps me understand my relationship with my father and my confusing relationship with race. 

Color takes an integral place in my paintings, and I’m particular about the hues and vibrancies I place in it. Having been aware of my own hue and color, I take great care and attention to the ways I depict my compositions. My palette consists predominantly of neon pinks, oranges, greens, and blues. I use these colors to complicate the stories and the tones of skin. The color of my skin has been such a point of contention, as the speculation of the race I’m associated with has also. 

I’ve often never felt white nor black enough, existing in a strange limbo between whiteness and blackness. This relationship has manifested itself through the complete absence of true black and white in my work. I explore skin tones and hues through my pigmented palette, as the pressure and expectations of lightness and darkness becomes convoluted when skin is not depicted in the traditional tones of brown. I feel an increased freedom to explore my proximity and my relationship with my blackness in the work. Painting figures in nonhuman palettes brings an aspect of exploration and awe to the form which has felt so unapproachable and disenchanted because of my relationship with colorism. 

My vibrant narrative paintings create an alternative narrative within which I am accepted and comfortable. As someone who was raised in a saturated white American culture in Texas, riding horses was one of my first connections to my blackness. It was here where I formed the image of my father’s personhood, as we often only saw each other when we went to the stables. I came to understand him and my own connection to my blackness through a predominately white dominated activity. I go back to that place to create space for my blackness to be seen, affirmed, and soothed like my inner child so sought to be.

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