Acrylic and fabric collage on linen canvas, with Kente cloth border, 1987. 711x560 mm; 28x22 inches, Signed and dated in acrylic, lower right recto. Signed, titled and dated in ink on the canvas overflap verso.
Provenance: acquired from the estate of Mary Myers Cole, the wife of art dealer Sylvan Cole; private collection, Connecticut (2009).
This bold 1980s canvas by Emma Amos displays her technique of incorporating fabric within painting, and is part of her visual representation of feminism in paint and fabric. Water Baby is part of a significant body of 1980s work by Emma Amos depicting African American women in bathing suits or swimming.
While attending New York University in the 1960s, Amos was the first female artist invited to join Spiral, the collective of African-American artists founded by Romare Bearden, Norman Lewis, and Charles Alston. In the 1980s, Emma Amos made a series of images of African-American women swimming. She has long sought to deconstruct traditional representations of beauty, and has embraced experimental techniques as a painter, master printmaker and weaver. Her paintings have recently been acquired by the Cleveland Museum of Art and Brooklyn Museum, and were included in the traveling museum exhibitions We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women 1965-1985 and Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power.