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2019 Weston Charisse 00

Charisse Weston (The University of California, Irvine) is a recipient of the 2019 Master of Fine Arts Fellowship in Painting & Sculpture.

Charisse Weston draws inspiration from where she grew up, the predominately Black and Brown neighborhood of Hiram Clarke in Southwest Houston, Texas. She describes her primary artistic pursuit with the words of writer Toni Cade Bambara: “to do justice to that realm of reality that we all live in, but do not acknowledge.” To that end, Ms. Weston melds autobiographical and familial narratives with experimental, poetic fictions as a means of highlighting the violability and potentiality of blackness, of Black female sexuality, and of their capacity to destabilize meaning. She is particularly interested in the development of strategic maneuvers and ideologies deployed within Black communities, and by the women within those communities, in response to the atmospheres of anti-Black violence.

Central to Ms. Weston’s current practice is the reuse, deconstruction, and reconfiguration of materials like glass and writing which correlate to the fragility and malleability of blackness. She is attracted to the material contradictions of glass: rigid but malleable, delicate but dangerous, transparent but also distorting, fracturing, and, therefore, opaque. She employs these complex qualities of glass to conceptually represent the everyday risk of anti-Black violence.