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Artist Profile: Jessica Wimbley by Betty Ann Brown featured in Art and Cake

Art and Cake is a Contemporary Art Magazine with a focus on the Los Angeles Art Scene. Artist Profile: Jessica Wimbley was published on April 19, 2020, following an interview between the writer, Betty Ann Brown and artist Jessica Wimbley.

[W]e technically are not born with identity; it is a socially constructed attribute… In other words, who we are is controlled by internal and external factors that combine to make us who we become.” ~Sabrina Lea Worsham
Changing how we see images is clearly one way to change the world.” ~bell hooks

Written by Betty Ann Brown Jessica Wimbley’s art compels us to change the way we see images and how that seeing affects identity construction. She interrogates depictions of African Americans–especially African American women–from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. For some time now, she has been focusing on how African-Americans were portrayed in cabinet cards: the larger format cards that were introduced in the 1860s and replaced the earlier carte de visite in the 1880s. The last cabinet cards were produced in the 1930s. Soon after their “demise,” printed magazines began to rise in popularity. Wimbley has also engaged fashionable “glamour” images found in printed magazines like Ebony and Jet. Founded in 1945 and 1951 respectively, both publications prioritize African-American content.

Wimbley does not simply appropriate such images. She changes them in order to deconstruct the messages they convey.

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