Artist Profile: Sonia Boyce

1 February 2017

Sonia Boyce’s early work uses her own experience as a young black woman to examine wider issues in society.

In Mr close-friend-of-the-family pays a visit whilst everyone else is out, news reports of rape and abuse allegations chime with her own exposure to being threatened.

The abuse of trust experienced by the woman in this drawing reflects some of Boyce’s concerns about power relationships between men and women, adult and children, and guardians and trustees.

The man' head has been cropped so that the focus is on his hand, while the young woman stares directly out at the viewer. This increases the feeling of claustrophobia and impending danger and creates a triangular relationship between the aggressor's hand, the victim's gaze and the viewer. Many of Boyce's drawings in the mid 1980s were brightly coloured, but in this work she restricts herself to charcoal, citing the influence of light and dark in film noir.

Sonia Boyce’s work can be seen as part The Place is Here at Nottingham Contemporary, 4 February until 1 May 2017.




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