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“STEPPING OUT TO STEP IN” -Theresa Chromati Exhibition at The Delaware Contemporary

September 11, 2020 @ 5:00 pm - January 8, 2021 @ 5:00 pm


Theresa Chromati
September 11, 2020 – January 8, 2021
Opening Reception: Friday, September 11 | 5 – 9 PM
6 PM | Poetry Performance by Jasmine Combs
7 PM | Gallery Talk with artist Theresa Chromati, Associate Professor Tiffany E. Barber*, and exhibition curator Kristen Hileman

Stepping Out to Step In began with the debut of The Delaware Contemporary’s public art initiative on June 5th, featuring three monumental outdoor banners by Theresa Chromati. Taken together the three banners describe, in the artist’s words, an “ambiguous journey” as a central figure attains “balance and then power.” Opening September 11, 2020, this exhibition will continue that journey as Chromati’s work “steps in” to the Carole Bieber & Marc Ham Gallery.

In Chromati’s layered paintings, human forms emerge from vortices of color and texture. Although their faces, breasts, bellies and limbs appear otherworldly, Chromati’s figures are engaged in the very human effort to find balance, strength, and empowerment in a chaotic world. These figures often share features with the artist herself, notably a spiraling hair style, and are depicted in relationship to “scrotum flowers,” the artist’s symbol for power gained through harmonizing feminine and masculine energy. Disembodied eyes are another repeated motif evoking the presence of a guiding force that aids the figures along their paths toward self-realization.

Chromati speaks of “intimacy” as being instrumental to her work. She creates a sense of trust, pleasure, and revelation in part through extraordinary visual details and tactile mixed-media surfaces which welcome close and prolonged looking. A soundscape made in collaboration with the electronic and pop artist Pangelica accompanies Chromati’s paintings and enhances the immersive sensuality of the imagery. But above all, Chromati’s openness to sharing an autobiographical journey of the mind and spirit, anchored in her experience as a Black woman alive in the first decades of the 21st century, invites an intimate engagement with viewers.

Now based in New York City, Chromati was born and raised in Baltimore and attended the Delaware College of Art and Design in Wilmington, DE as well as the Pratt Institute in New York, NY. The exterior banner portion of Stepping Out to Step In was featured in Architectural Digest, T Magazine – The New York Times, Bmore Art, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Delaware Today.

From June through November 2020, the three exterior banners created by Theresa Chromati will be on view on The Delaware Contemporary’s façade, accompanied by an exterior soundscape made in collaboration with Pangelica.

Carole Bieber & Marc Ham Gallery

*Joining us for the opening event on September 11, 2020, Tiffany E. Barber is an Associate Professor of Africana Studies at the University of Delaware. She is a scholar, curator, and critic of 20th and 21st century visual art, new media, and performance with a focus on artists of the black diaspora.


September 11 @ 5:00 pm
January 8, 2021 @ 5:00 pm
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