About the Cover

“You will think you know them,” Erica Deeman says at the end of a video about her portraits of black men, called Brown. “And you’ll be wrong.” The same could be said of the women in her series Silhouettes, which goes on view September 14 at Laurence Miller’s new Chelsea location. The women, from the African diaspora, are pictured in profile against a white background, in a shadow that withholds detail and nuance, at least initially. Like Kara Walker, Deeman knows that her use of silhouettes will hit a few historical chords – the 18th-century pseudoscientific practice of physiognomy, which aligned features to character in order to justify racism, but also the use of silhouettes to memorialize and honor a loved one. Both are tapped into in this series, which includes our cover image, Untitled #24.