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Alison Saar

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Alison Saar
Contemporary (post 1945) painting, sculpture, installation
(Los Angeles, CA, February 5, 1956 - )

Alison M. Saar is an active painter and sculptor known for focusing upon several elements of the African diaspora including history, religion, and sexuality. As an active artist and racial equity activist, she recently produced sculptures and installations that comments on major issues affecting the Black community and the Black Lives Matter movement with an intimate perspective. Born in Los Angeles, California to sculptors Betye and Richard Saar in 1956, Saar developed a passion for folk art at an early age. Her parents frequently took analytical field trips to art openings and public art works featured in ethnic enclaves peppered throughout the Greater Los Angeles region, thus exposing her to a diverse vernacular vocabulary of artistic expression before she finished high school. Determined to further develop her historical knowledge of these underdiscussed communities, Saar enrolled at Scripps College in 1974 and earned a B.A. in Fine Arts in 1978. She then enrolled at Otis College of Arts and Design in 1979 to further develop her understanding of Black folk art, earning a M.F.A in 1981. Although Saar would apply her academic experiences to her career as an independent artist, she frequently collaborated with her mother up until the 1990s. Since then, Saar has engaged with a wide range of materials to express sophisticated ideas regarding the Black experience throughout American history. Her candid interpretations of social injustices and allusions to philosophical critiques from radical Black feminist intellectuals are present in works involving bronze, wood, twine, and miscellaneous found objects. To cement her personal relationship with macro-contextual racial tragedies, most of her works display female humans created with found objects that, depending on the general context of the piece, could conjure spirits that are subject of Black oral folklore from the United States and beyond. Saar continues to create works detailing the complex nature of Black feminism from her studio in Los Angeles.

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