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Amber Robles-Gordon

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The Work

Coming Soon
Do Not Attempt to Encapsulate or Control the Rainbow & Above All You Must Not Play at God,
Mixed media (branches, textiles, acrylic paint, electrical cables, paper strips, etc.), 2021
Dimensions variable

Remembering who I am
Mixed media, 2019
68 x 87 inches

(See webuiltthis.house/exhibition-images for information on other works shown)

Curator Essay

Amber Robles-Gordon is a mixed media artist, educator, curator, and dedicated advocate for the arts and arts communities in the D.C. area. Her work utilizes unorthodox materials that channel her spirituality, gender, and Caribbean-Puerto Rican American culture while addressing issues of inequity in an effort to challenge social norms. 

Do Not Attempt to Encapsulate or Control the Rainbow and Above All You Must Not Play at God is a large scale installation that features what Robles-Gordon calls talking sticks, which are tree branches intricately wrapped in various fabrics and adorned with jewelry to embody Black femininity. For WE BUILT THIS HOUSE, nine new sticks were added to the work to form an inverted triangle that represents womanhood, the earth, the cosmic world, and the story of Henrietta Lacks whose cervical cells were stolen from her body without her knowledge by medical professionals at John Hopkins Hospital to develop the HeLa cell to aid in the treatment of cancer despite not giving her proper treatment nor credit or compensation for her biological contribution. Underneath these suspended branches are thin slips of paper that the audience is encouraged to interact with. The slips of paper are shredded copies of the Hippocratic Oath, the physician's oath of ethics. As they sift, sort and read through the snippets of text while reflecting upon Lacks' experience, an understanding of the hypocrisy surrounding this document in relation to the historical treatment of Black people in the medical field can be formed.

Remembering Who I Am is a personal collaged quilt that consists of photographs of Robles-Gordon’s friends and family, plants, clouds, stars, and other abstracted imagery that symbolize the ecosystem of the artist’s wholeness. Developed during a breakup, this quilt acts as a visual symbolization of Robles-Gordon’s conversations with the universe, and a reminder of how to realign her energy in order to heal. 

The visual representations of her experience and voice conveyed through these works bring a healing and empowered Afro-Latina perspective to WE BUILT THIS HOUSE, reminding viewers of the humanity within D.C. and encouraging them to look beyond the political context associated with the nation’s capital.

- Jasmine Elmore (Photography + Film, BFA 2022)

Artist Bio

Amber Robles-Gordon is a mixed media visual artist and has over fifteen years of exhibiting, art education, and exhibition coordinating experience. She received a Bachelor of Science, Business Administration in 2005 at Trinity University, and subsequently a Master’s in Fine Arts (Painting) in 2011 from Howard University, Washington, DC. At Howard University she received annual awards and accolades for her artwork. Throughout her career, she has served as an advocate for the Washington, DC area arts community. From November 2004 through July 2012, Robles-Gordon was an active member of Black Artists DC (BADC), serving as Exhibitions Coordinator, Vice President and President. BADC, a 20-year old member organization of individuals of Black-Afrikan ancestry, includes artists, arts administrators, educators, dealers, collectors, museum directors, curators, gallery owners, and arts enthusiasts. Robles-Gordon is also the Co-Founder of the Delusions of Grandeur Artist Collective. Her creations are visual representations of her hybridism: a fusion of her gender, ethnicity, cultural, and social experiences. Known for recontextualizing non-traditional materials, her assemblages, large sculptures, installations, and public artwork, emphasize the essentialness of spirituality and temporality within life. Driven by the need to construct her own distinctive path, innovate, and challenge social norms, her artwork is unconventional and non-formulaic. The underpinnings of her creations are imbued to reveal racial injustice and the paradoxes within the imbalance of masculine and feminine energies within our society.