All month I’ve been highlighting African American Art in various forms. One of the California artists I learned about through this process is assemblage artist Betye Saar. Saar was born and raised in Los Angeles/Pasadena, graduated from UCLA and taught art at both Otis and the University of California.
Her influences in assemblage began when she witnessed the erection of the Watts Towers by Simon Rodia between 1921 and 1954; her work has evolved into diverse assemblage expression from postbellum/Jim Crow era racist iconographic collectibles, to spirituality, folk traditions and explorations into her heritage and familial influences. There’s a series of fascinating videos on YouTube about her background and her process, but of all her works, I particularly like contemplative qualities of “In My Solitude”.
More on Betye Saar’s work: