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Joy Gregory, born 1959


Materials & Techniques:
Giclée print on medium, smooth, white cotton rag paper
Sheet: 7 x 5in. (17.8 x 12.7cm)

Inscribed in artist's hand on back in graphite bottom right "6/20"; in artist's hand in graphite bottom left to right: "II Autoportait "Joy Gregory 2006"

Signed and dated on verso in graphite: "Joy Gregory | 2006"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Friends of British Art Fund
Copyright Status:
© The Artist
Accession Number:
Prints and Drawings
Accessible by appointment in the Study Room [Request]
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IIIF Manifest:

B2008.8.2, B2008.8.5, B2008.8.8 The photographer Joy Gregory was born in Britain to Jamaican parents. She studied at the Royal College of Art, London, and has exhibited internationally, including in Cape Town, South Africa, where she first showed her series Lost Histories, which reflected on colonization and its effects on culture and self-image. Gregory's practice constitutes a penetrating investigation of issues of race, gender, and personal and cultural identity, while her visual language, as she has noted, "resides within a traditional aesthetic of truth and beauty." The artist has an eclectic technical repertoire, ranging from Victorian print processes to digital imaging. First published in 1990, Autoportrait originally consisted of a series of self-portrait silver prints that existed only in an edition of two, but Gregory recently had the original photographs scanned and the portfolio was republished in 2006 as a series of giclée prints. In Gregory's 1990 Autoportrait photo series [figs. 11.7 and 11.8], there is nothing else in the frame, nothing for the eye to see, nowhere else to look, except at the black woman "in the field of vision." Or rather the parts of her-eyes, eyebrows, mouth, neck, ears, half-profile, hands-covering-face-that Gregory allows us to see: for the deliberately distorted staging of these self-images, disrupting the "normal" distances of viewing, their isolation in space and fragmented shapes, also breaks the frame in a wider sense, refusing the wholeness of the tradition of western portraiture and, in a counter-move, obliging us to see and look otherwise. As I argued elsewhere: Black self-portraiture in this historical moment has broken many of its links with the dominant western humanist celebration of self and has become more the staking of a claim, a wager. Here, the black self-image is, in a double sense, an exposure, a coming-out. The self is caught emerging . . . the experience of rupture, break, discontinuity, of loss and resistance to loss, of migration, upheaval, of the struggle to live within multiple locations and to sustain multiple strategies of resistance are allowed to invade the mythical inner wholeness of the self-image.

Gallery label for Art and Emancipation in Jamaica: Isaac Mendes Belisario and his Worlds (Yale Center for British Art, 2007-09-27 - 2007-12-30)

Art in Focus : Women at Yale (Yale Center for British Art, 2020-04-08 - 2020-08-30) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition] [Exhibition Description]

Art and Emancipation in Jamaica: Isaac Mendes Belisario and his Worlds (Yale Center for British Art, 2007-09-27 - 2007-12-30) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition] [Exhibition Description]

Timothy J. Barringer, Art and Emancipation in Jamaica: Isaac Mendes Belisario and His Worlds, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2007, pp. 186-7, fig. 11.7, N8243 S576 B37 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

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