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Unhidden: I Used to Live in Fear

Works by Brian Dickson, Jr.

December 1- 30, 2023

Dale Brock and Visiting Angels Gallery

Exhibition Statement

Unhidden: I Used to Live in Fear is a show that consists of afro-surreal oil and mixed media paintings that visually reveal the spiritual warfare Black Americans endure after rejecting indoctrination and fear. Some pieces display the internal fight to maintain self-love, while others imagine safe spaces for Black people to exist free of persecution. A few of my pieces consist of figures inspired by real people, while others are portraits of myself, family, and friends to share my personal connection to the fight to remain whole amid systemic oppression.

I started creating this body of work during my self-love journey in my undergraduate experience. These paintings helped me develop a visual language to express how I fought to sustain self-love while navigating and decoding covert racism. Themes of safety, spirituality, and confidence are juxtaposed with political and social commentary, prompting viewers to wonder about the divine power that has “kept” generations of Black people safe and sane. I use the contrast of vivid colors and dark themes to invite viewers to engage with controversial subject matter that they would regularly avoid. The range of materials helps express the complexity and depth of emotions Black people experience as we choose to renounce the anxieties of being Black in America. Though the stories I am conveying are rooted in my personal experience as a Black Man in America, I believe the messages in my work can inspire anyone to leave the shackles of fear and live boldly despite their dark past and uncertain future.

Artist Bio

Brian Dickson Jr. is a mixed-media artist from Fort Worth, Texas. He currently resides in Stop 6, where he grew up. He received a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies from TCU integrating Studio Art, Art Education, and Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies. This year Brian was selected to participate in Fort Worth Public Art’s pilot apprentice program and won the Cowtown Buckaroo Artist Showdown. Brian has exhibited at Moudy Art Gallery, Fort Worth Contemporary Arts, Oak Cliff society of Fine Arts, Greater Denton Arts Council and 400h Gallery & Studio. Brian is currently the Education Coordinator at Kinfolk House and is pursuing a M.S. Interdisciplinary Studies degree that combines Educational Psychology and Education from UNT.

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