Bethany Collins

Selections from White Noise and Webster's New World Dictionary

Artist's Statement

I am interested in the unnerving possibility of multiple meanings, dual perceptions, and limitlessness in the seemingly binary. Drawing repeatedly allows me to fully understand objects in space, while defining and redefining my own racial landscape.

For me, racial identity has neither been instantly formed nor conjured in isolation. Rather, identity entangles memory: actual and revisited, cultural and historical, individual and collective. Through the dissolution of dichotomies and exploration of language, this work recalls moments in the formation of my racial identity as Black and Biracial. And each re-worked mark is yet another attempt to navigate the binary paradigm of race in the American South by grasping invisible limitations and grounding myself within the collective African American visual narrative.

White Noise, my language-based series, begins with unsettling statements or probing questions and eventually ends with equally unsettled compositions of chalk on chalkboard. Through a slow and tediously deconstructive process, the resulting textual forms resemble the destructive path of a bomb, a cloud of hovering chalk dust, an astrological occurrence, or possibly a field of white noise.

As with my entire body of work, White Noise continues to evoke a longing for what author Rebecca Walker refers to in her autobiography as “a memory that can remind me at all times of who I definitely am…the black outline around my body that everyone else seems to have.”

Editor's note:
The following four selections are from Bethany's White Noise series and her Webster's New World Dictionary series. Like Bethany, we believe these selections create an interesting conversation in conjunction. The banner for this page is a cropped version of "I'm Just So Politically Correct Today," which appears below. For more, we encourage you to visit Bethany's website.

White Noise
48” x 70”
Chalk and charcoal on chalkboard2012

Webster’s New World Dictionary
30” x 22”
Ink on American Masters paper

“I’m Just So Politically Correct Today”

White Noise series
6’ x 13’
Chalk on chalkboard on wall
Goat Farm Arts Center
Atlanta, GA
Black and white, 1951
Webster’s New World Dictionary series
30” x 22”
Ink on American Masters paper

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