Rebecca Marimutu: Portraits (Contact)


Portrait(s), Contact #103

Exhibit Dates

Rebecca Marimutu: Portraits (Contact) will be on view at Goucher College’s Rosenberg Art Gallery in the Kraushaar Center from February 8 to May 26. This exhibit, which is free, open to the public, and accessible to all, can be viewed Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Artist Reception

An artist’s reception will be held Thursday, February 22, from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Rosenberg Art Gallery. Email for more information.


Artwork Photo (right)

Portraits (Contact), #103


About the Exhibit

Goucher College is pleased to present Rebecca Marimutu: Portraits (Contact), the artist’s first solo exhibition in Baltimore, of photographs and collages from her 2022-23 series.

Marimutu explores the notions of self, identity, and portraiture through combinations of digital and analog photography, which she intercepts manually through drawing, painting, collage, and sculptural and photographic processes.

After Marimutu first worked in analog photography, utilizing more traditional forms and concepts as an undergraduate student at SUNY Albany, during the pandemic she began exploring digital photography, creating images of cropped parts of her body and face and recollaging them. More than a catalog of the pieces, in an era in which selfies are ubiquitous, they slow down and offer an exegetical encounter with what constitutes a portrayal of not just her particular face, but of a more universal question, of the relationship to one’s face, and to identities in general.


Artist Statement

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 within the frame.

In Portraits (Contact) 2022, I directly impart my hand in a physical sense onto the pictorial plane. I employ nontraditional photographic methods, emphasizing the tactile nature of the photographic object and blurring the line between photography and sculpture. Through these material interventions, I explore the possibilities of representation, inviting viewers to question their assumptions and engage with the complexities of identity formation.

With Portraits (Contact), I seek to subvert the traditional gaze of photography, reclaiming agency over her representation. I work to address the objectification inherent in the medium by taking self-portraits and challenging power dynamics. The fragmentation and abstraction in the series distance the viewer from the traditional gaze, encouraging them to critically examine their preconceived notions and narratives.

My artistic practice is rooted 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 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.

bell hooks writes in Black Look:

"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."


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 to revisit the ideas around Black representation in contemporary art.


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, artist books, 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 M.F.A. 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, Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts in Portland, and Waller Gallery, Catalyst Contemporary, Black Artists Research Space, and Eubie Blake Cultural Center in Baltimore, MD. She is an adjunct photography professor at Parsons School of Design (New York), Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), University of the Arts (PA), and Towson University (MD).


A Closing Event: Artist Talk and Book Launch

There will be an artist talk and book reception in May. Goucher worked with Rebecca Marimutu to produce a limited-edition publication of an artist book that will be released and made available during this closing event. Details will be announced shortly.