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Ariel Dannielle: It Started So Simple

Nov 21, 2020 - Jan 16, 2021
11am - 5pm

2019/2021 Working Artist Project

This round of Working Artist Projects was curated by Wassan Al-Khudhairi, Chief Curator at the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis.

About It Started So Simple

Ariel Dannielle’s show focuses on the idea of “thriving and not just surviving” as an African American woman. Her joy is an act of resistance towards racism. Ariel uses her life as inspiration to tell her personal story of blackness. With fewer representations of black figures in historical records she continues to work towards changing that with her portraits of the modern life of a black woman in America.

“Representation matters to me. It informs the work I create. I paint with the hope that my viewers not only feel empowered and inspired, but also seen and understood.  My work is a visual journal. Each painting is record of my personal experiences, observations, and feelings. This acrylic archive has enabled me to explore aspects of human frailty and vulnerability, racial and ethnic identity, gender, sexuality, and feminism.

I aim to show my experiences in a way of thriving not just surviving. Though seeing the history of my culture is important I do not want to be defined by trauma, our joy should be highlighted to. I believe there is still room for more exploration for black figures in art when it comes to representation. It is my hope that my depiction of simple everyday experiences provides new understandings of Black womanhood and causes new connections to be made.”

–Ariel Dannielle

About the Artist

Arielle Dannielle is an African American painter born and raised in Atlanta, GA. She graduated from the University of West Georgia, where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Drawing directly from her life, Ariel creates large scale paintings that depict the daily experiences of young Black women. She believes in the importance of her artwork to provide new lenses through which Black womanhood can be represented, understood, and related to.

Influenced by the work of Kerry James Marshall and Alice Neel, Ariel believes strongly in the power of portraiture. She focuses on developing personal narratives within her portraits that challenge gender and racial stereotypes. By placing herself in her paintings she opens a door to welcome her viewers to participate in a process of introspection.

Ariel’s work has been showcased at Mint ATL, The Goat Farm, ZuCot Gallery, Dalton Gallery, TILA Studios, Trio Contemporary Art Gallery, Perez Museum Miami, and California African American Museum. She was a semi-finalist in the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series 2018, an Artadia 2018 finalist, and has been featured in The Studio Museum Magazine, Voyage ATL, Sorjo Magazine, mentioned in The New York Times, and featured on the cover of the CAAM summer catalog 2019.