Urgent Museum Notice

Image for Artist Spotlight: Brenna Youngblood

Artist Spotlight: Brenna Youngblood

Blog Category:  Artist Spotlight

Magnetic Fields: Expanding American Abstraction, 1960s to Today places abstract works by multiple generations of black women artists in context with one another—and within the larger history of abstract art—for the first time, revealing the artists’ role as under-recognized leaders in abstraction.
By: Brenna Youngblood (b. 1979, Riverside, California)
In the dream-like, mixed-media work YARDGUARD (2015), Brenna Youngblood applies an array of colors, tones, and patterns to create a nuanced composition. In the six-foot-high painting, the artist challenges viewers to make connections and open their imaginations.

Brenna Youngblood, YARDGUARD, 2015; Mixed media on canvas, 72 x 60 in.; Courtesy of the artist and Tilton Gallery, New York, New York; © Brenna Youngblood

A multidisciplinary artist, Youngblood fuses her process of abstract painting with her photographic background to both conceal and reveal meaning. The artist says, “I don’t like to say exactly what something is about, because I enjoy people’s interpretations—what they bring from their lives, their experiences.” This sense of ambiguity is evident in the artist’s stylistic choices and overall technique in YARDGUARD as well as Forecast (2014), also on view in Magnetic Fields.
Youngblood often combines references to artificial objects and nature in her works. In YARDGUARD, the ghostly appearance of a chain-link fence that grazes the edges of the frame is disrupted by splashes of rich color breaking through the center of the composition. Set on a silvery gray background, the surface of the work appears faded and worn. The artist’s use of serene jewel tones is juxtaposed with a forceful application of shimmering, liquid-seeming pigment. Youngblood’s ability to evoke the world around us in YARDGUARD creates shifts in focus and resounding energy.
Visit the museum and explore Magnetic Fields, on view through January 21, 2018. Learn more through the Magnetic Fields Mobile Guide.

Related Posts

  • Interview with NMWA Muralist Quest Skinner

    Posted: Aug 12, 2020 in Advocacy
    Quest Skinner is a Washington, D.C.-based mixed-media artist, teacher, and community activist. In June, NMWA commissioned her to paint a mural on the plywood covering the museum’s façade on a day that saw thousands of peaceful protesters gathered in support of Black lives.
    Blog Category:  Advocacy
  • Director's Desk: Welcome Back!

    Posted: Aug 10, 2020 in Director's Desk
    After just over four months closed, it was so gratifying to welcome visitors back to NMWA on August 1. We have implemented new health, safety, and operations protocols so that everyone can have a safe, comfortable, and socially distanced experience at the museum.
    Abstract painting features a vivid yellow background covered by circles, daubs, and straight and wavy lines in red, orange, cobalt, sky blue, and violet. Arcing red strokes evoke concentric circles. Straight lines in other hues radiate out from the center circle like a starburst.
    Blog Category:  Director's Desk
  • Art Fix Friday: August 7, 2020

    Posted: Aug 07, 2020 in Art Fix Friday
    Oprah magazine profiles artist Alexis Franklin, who created a digital portrait of Breonna Taylor for the cover of the September 2020 issue; Jaune Quick-to-See-Smith is the first Native American artist to have a painting purchased by the National Gallery of Art; and more.
    A black-and-white photograph of a light-skinned adult woman holding a newspaper with news about World War II. She wears a coat and her short, curly hair is caught in the wind.
    Blog Category:  Art Fix Friday