David Winton Bell Gallery

Past Exhibitions

June 8, 2019 - July 7, 2019

Valuing "the associative power of abstract images . . . to suggest complex ideas," Toby Sisson uses the idiom of non-objective abstraction to reflect on her personal experience as a multiracial American. The descendent of enslaved Americans, European settlers and immigrants, and Cherokee Indians, Sisson recognized the binary reality that W.E.B. Du Bois termed "double consciousness"—a constant awareness of "twoness." Past works with titles like One Drop Rule and Black Tears (created in 2015 in response to continuing violence against young, unarmed, black men), have led to Nacirema. The title, an inversion of the word "American," references Nacirema Clubs—African American social clubs establised in the early twentieth century, like the one Sisson's father frequented. Inscribing the words over and over within her abstract compositions, Sisson invites us to join her in contemplating alternate readings of our national identity. 

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