Art News

In Celebration of Black History Month: Dave McClinton, Digital Collages, and Keen Commentary

In honor of Black History Month this February, Saatchi Art will be featuring four emerging artists who center their practices on elements of Black history.

In Dave McClinton’s most recent solo exhibition, Absolute Relativism, at the Ivester Contemporary gallery in Austin, the artist displays 16 digital collages made entirely within the last year.  The Austin-based artist and graphic designer uses the medium of digital collage to speak to current and contemporary issues surrounding race, American history, and beauty standards today. Experimenting with color and texture, Dave’s collages often incorporate several layers of images. Capturing images of unusual patterns and shapes from his daily life, Dave enjoys the opportunity to take an everyday object or texture and render it from a different perspective.

“I want to illustrate the life-cycle of the inner life of a black person. From innocent to informed. From recklessly defiant to determined. How the weight of American history can either crush you or harden you.” — Dave McClinton

“Currently, there is a newly intensified wave of empathetic consciousness in all forms of artistic output. I want the community to seize this moment in history to create work that tells a story and compels them to embrace empathy and activism for the sake of others. My hope is that the work I’m creating can help do that. I want to spark conversations that have, historically, been hard to start.”

Dave’s background as a graphic designer shines through his digital collages, as complex historical narratives and political statements are quickly understood and communicated through sharp lines and intense blocks of color. Dave’s creative process begins by compiling family photos and found images. His portraits are printed with archival pigments on 100% cotton paper. The artist had a busy 2020, with group exhibitions at Ivester Contemporary, 5 Points Art Gallery & Studios in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and the McKinney Performing Arts Center in Texas.

Want to continue the celebration? Explore an online exhibition of artworks guest-curated by Saatchi Art artist Barry Johnson in honor of Black History Month.

About the Author

Aurora Garrison is Assistant Curator at Saatchi Art. Need help finding art? Contact her via our free Art Advisory service at saatchiart.com/artadvisory.