About

Alicia McDaniel

Born in Sacramento, CA

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BIO: 

Alicia McDaniel is an interdisciplinary visual artist and educator. Her image-making practice is multifaceted and experimental as she works within the realms of installation, painting, sculpture, book making, and video. Her work originates within her and her family's’ different experiences with racial profiling, skin privilege, and assimilation in both historical and contemporary instances. She earned her BA in Studio Art at Mills College and her MFA from the California College of the Arts where she is currently a candidate for an MA in Visual Critical StudiesMcDaniel is currently a Studio Artist and the Exhibitions Fellow at Root Division gallery where she curates the Frank-Ratchye Space gallery and writes for the Root Division Talks Blog. She is also the Art Studio Assistant Fellow at Ruth’s Table gallery.

Artist Statement: 

The Brown Paper Bag test, established in the early 1900s, was used to segregate People of Color in the United States until the 1970s. If someone’s skin color was lighter than the paper bag, they were admitted into white spaces. When People of Color are born with lighter complexions, a frequent occurrence, they access certain privileges associated with “passing” as white. Artist Alicia McDaniel’s grandmother attempted to pass herself off as white by rejecting her Latinx/Indigenous identity, customs, language and bleaching her skin daily. Her work uses the Paper Bag Test as a point of departure for contemporary instances of colorism and racism that still exist. ​McDaniel’s image-making practice is multifaceted and experimental as she works within the realms of installation, painting, sculpture, book making, and video. She creates compositions made from torn, multiple shades of paper bags to represent the tension behind the formulation of racial identity in America. Her work originates within her and her family's’ different experiences with racial profiling, skin privilege, and assimilation in both historical and contemporary instances. McDaniel also re-examines her own personal experiences as a white -“passing” Person of Color.

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