David Shrobe creates multi-layered portraits by repurposing everyday materials that he finds in his Harlem neighborhood. He disassembles furniture, separating wood from fabric and recombines them as supports for collage, painting and drawing. In doing so, he excavates history to create fragmented portraits that relate to his family history and his African American identity. Many of his works are oval in shape, and with their use of fabric, they bear a faint relationship to early daguerreian portrait photography, especially the early images of Frederick Douglass and other free people of color. By combining the found and repurposed materials of Harlem with the photographic history of African Americans, Shrobe produces new narratives that feel intimate and personal without being anchored to a specific time or place.
Courtesy of Steve Turner
Works Available for Purchase