by PAUL BICKLEY
It’s hard for mixed-media artist Larissa Danielle, an Indiana University Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture and Design MFA student, to name her favorite medium. Much of her work combines paint, sculpture, fiber, and an array of recycled materials on canvas. “I was tired of seeing flat paint,” says the Silver Springs, Maryland, native. “At museums in Washington, D.C., I’d see paintings with fabric and metal. I dabbled in texture and started using more and more of it. It makes pieces come off the canvas.”
Danielle says some of her signature work “reflects the everyday life, love, and struggles of the strong black woman.” Her “Beautiful Exclusion” series presents portraits of black women who don’t conform to conventional standards of beauty. “The women are beautiful and strong and represent many women who are relevant today, but they are excluded from the media and beauty pageants because of their features—their hair in particular,” she says. Danielle uses eclectic methods to represent natural hairstyles: painted-in bottle caps, fiber pompoms, dozens of overlapping CDs, and aquarium gravel. “I exaggerate and celebrate the features that exclude them.”
Another work, Slave Skin, was inspired by a photograph Danielle saw of a former African American slave displaying welts on his back from whippings. Black fiber in different thicknesses stripe two offset brown canvases, extending to the floor. Two strips of burnt sienna suede variegate the canvases. “That photo was so hurtful that I wanted to turn it into something beautiful,” Danielle says.
For more of the artist’s work, visit instagram.com/larissadanielleart/.