Rebecca Marimutu

Artist Bio

Rebecca Marimutu is a photographer and educator from New York City. Her artistic practice explores self, identity, and material tactility through photography, collage, paper sculpture, and audio-visual abstraction. Her work looks to divest from the traditional photography canon by emphasizing contemporary artists interrogating the medium’s history. She received her MFA in 2020 from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Photographic and Electronic Media, with a concentration in Critical Studies.

She's the founder and director of Anchovy Press, an independent publishing company dedicated to storytelling that centers BIPOC experiences.

Her work has been shown at Spring/Break Art Fair in New York, Waller Gallery, Catalyst Contemporary, Black Artists Research Space, and Eubie Blake Cultural Center in Baltimore, MD. She is currently an adjunct photography professor at Parsons School of Design, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and Towson University.

 


Artist Statement, Portrait(s) 2020 - ongoing


With my ongoing self-examination series, Portrait(s), I treat the photographic image of myself as a landscape for abstraction and deconstruction. I investigate the practice of portraiture while subverting the white gaze by concealing, obscuring, and protecting the image of myself that lies within the frame.

With my use of gridded structured collage in Portrait(s) Adhered 2021 and the incorporation of gestural materials with paint, oil pastel, and other materials in Portrait(s), Contact 2022, I subvert the ideology of the precious archival image and directly impart my hand in a physical sense onto the pictorial plane. In the current iteration, Portrait(s), Coated 2023, I build on my practice and bring the work into sculptural and dimensional space. This work incorporates photographic paper mache sculptures and coated photographic images in encaustic wax and resin, bringing the portrait into the third dimension.

My artistic practice is routed in concepts surrounding art as "the Other." In a society that juxtaposes and pushes ideas of morality, intelligence, and the like onto racial divides it has manufactured, the contemporary and historical image-viewing experience is not without its predetermined narrative manufactured to adhere in part to white supremacist ideology. Black womanists, such as bell hooks, spoke of this and art as “the Other” in Black Look, Race, and Representation. I refer to this as a foundational framework for my artistic research.

"When race and ethnicity become commodified as resources for pleasure, the culture of specific groups and the bodies of individuals can be seen as constituting an alternative playground where members of dominating races, genders, and sexual practices affirm their power over intimate relations with the Other." (bell hooks, Black Look, 23)

In this context, pleasure, to me, refers to artistic visual pleasure. As the dissemination of the image of Black womanhood is consumed more than ever, I question how I can have authorship over my image. Portrait(s) attempts to answer this question by exploring abstraction, obstruction, and concealment. I use these actions to protest, directly addressing how I am often allowed to see myself in art spaces. With my self-portraiture and my exploration of the photograph's objecthood, I look to confront the public image of me, the image of us, and revisit the ideas around Black representation in contemporary art.





 




Portrait(s) Coated (2023)


Photographic Collages, Enamel Paint & Cement/ Plaster/ Resin on Wood Board


Sculptures

Photographic Collages, Enamel Paint/ Fabirc/ Resin on Wood Board






Archival Pigment Prints 

Monoprints on Mixed Media Paper




Photographic collages, Hand Dyed Gauze with Enamel Paint and Acrylic Paint on Stretched Canvas

Portraits, Contact (2022)





Portrait(s), Adhered (2021)


Portrait(s) - Kraft Paper 



Photography provides the viewer space to look on-to another experience through the safety of their own -- standing outside the frame, and other those who are within. Marimutu works to subvert and orient this space of contemplation that photography provides, by blocking the gaze of the viewer onto the viewed. Her work conceals and protects that which lies under the paper, only showing the borders and edges of what was -- in the process, guiding the viewer to question their role in this obfuscation.

Portrait(s), an exploration of exploitation and repair, consists of large photosensitive Kraft Paper sculptures that are intentionally composed to absorb the surrounding environment onto themselves as they weaken and decay. By creating and repairing these portraits through accessible, durable, and charged materials, Marimutu works to address and remove the material and political hierarchy of picture-making, and imposes her own.

Untitled is an early response to the pandemic. Working through old work, Corners (2016) and new work Exploitation and Repair (2020), Marimutu was continuing her exploration about the spaces she inhabited — institutional and educational spaces from her archive — along with the current discussion about her place within them.

New Spaces (2020) is composed of works in progress that explores the intersection of space and expansion, the distortion of the lens, and the manipulation of the digital and racial landscape that we are a part of. Through these, Marimutu works on repairing and attaching these spaces and imagining them together.

In the Home (2020) addresses how the current pandemic has centered around discussions about the work of being anti racist in domestic and family-focused spaces. Discussions about race have become more internal, as our social access to people continues to shrink. The past year has been a time for introspection on how to personally confront white supremacy, as well as an extended moment to educate ourselves about how we got here. As an artist who has long been working on the tokenization of BIPOC in arts institutions, Marimutu also hopes to extend that critique to the space of our home.

Portrait (s), an  Exploitation and Repair (2020) 


Photography provides the viewer space to look on-to another experience through the safety of their own -- standing outside the frame, and other those who are within. Marimutu works to subvert and orient this space of contemplation that photography provides, by blocking the gaze of the viewer onto the viewed. Her work conceals and protects that which lies under the paper, only showing the borders and edges of what was -- in the process, guiding the viewer to question their role in this obfuscation.Portrait(s), an exploration of exploitation and repair, consists of large photosensitive Kraft Paper sculptures that are intentionally composed to absorb the surrounding environment onto themselves as they weaken and decay.

By creating and repairing these portraits through accessible, durable, and charged materials, Marimutu works to address and remove the material and political hierarchy of picture-making, and imposes her own.
Untitled(2020) is an early response to the pandemic. Working through old work, Corners (2016) and new work Exploitation and Repair (2020), Marimutu was continuing her exploration about the spaces she inhabited — institutional and educational spaces from her archive — along with the current discussion about her place within them.


New
Spaces (2020) is composed of works in progress that explores the intersection of space and expansion, the distortion of the lens, and the manipulation of the digital and racial landscape that we are a part of.

Through these, Marimutu works on repairing and attaching these spaces and imagining them together. In the Home (2020) addresses how the current pandemic has centered around discussions about the work of being anti racist in domestic and family-focused spaces. Discussions about race have become more internal, as our social access to people continues to shrink. The past year has been a time for introspection on how to personally confront white supremacy, as well as an extended moment to educate ourselves about how we got here. As an artist who has long been working on the tokenization of BIPOC in arts institutions, Marimutu also hopes to extend that critique to the space of our home.




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Work From Home 2020



2. September






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3. October, 2020



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4. November, 2020





Permanent, Ephemeral, (2019)

Permanent, Ephemeral, (2019) takes place as an installation, of sculptural plastic material and projection mapping. Using refuse plastic, I discuss topics of permanence and greenwashing through this material and its translucent qualities. Plastic due to its accessibility and its inherent malleable nature I melt, sew, paint and tie this material together to create a canvas for projection, or objects for consumption.

Plastic Hands (2019)

Scans of reapproprated Plastic Material & my hand

 
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Packed Bags, 2019



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Projection 2018


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Sheet Plastic, (2019)




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Baltimore, (2018)


Selected Portraits, 2016

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India (2016)

Maryland (2016)



New Paltz &  (2016)



New York City (2016)



Albany (2015)



West Village (2015)



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