Betye Saar: Still a Star

Betye Saar: Still a Star

Betye Saar is an American visual artist. She is  87 years old.

tohyf_SAARaBetye Saar

Betye Irene Saar was born July 30, 1926, in Los Angeles, California, where she still lives.  Her ancestry is a mixture of African-American, Irish, and Native American.

tohyf_SAAR4“The Mystic Window #1”, 1965, (Assemblage with etchings, graphite, ink and watercolor on paper, with antique window frame)

tohyf_SAAR7“The Phrenologer’s Window”, 1966, (Assemblage of two panel wood frame with print and collage)

Betye Saar is known for creating visual art called “assemblages”. She is very interested in using memories as inspiration for her art. She uses family memorabilia”: objects or materials that are collected because they relate to an event or person, and collected as souvenirs. Examples might be letters or notes, baby announcements, or photographs.

tohyf_SAARb.“The Loss”, 1977,  (mixed media on handkerchief)

When her great-aunt died, Saar became immersed in family memorabilia and began making very personal assemblages using mementos of her great aunt’s life. She arranged old photographs, letters, lockets, dried flowers, and handkerchiefs to express memory and the passage of time.

tohyf_SAAR5“Rainbow Friendship”, 1976,  (Collage)

Remember the surrealist artist Salvador Dali…and his famous painting “The Persistence of Memory”, with the melting clock…that expressed his feelings about the passage of time?

Dali_3“The Persistence of Memory”, 1931, Salvador Dali (Painting)

Through her art, Saar expresses family nostalgia, or remembering the past, maybe even missing the past. She uses pieces of photographs, and other items that express memories.

tohyf_SAAR6“Brown Sugah”, 2001 (Mixed media collage with frame on paperboard)

Betye Saar is one of the leading artists of our time. Her use of photographs and the power of photography helps her put together the personal and historical into something universal, something we all might relate to.

ToHYF_SAAR!Bittersweet (Bessie’s Song),  above, 1973, shows respect for jazz legend, Bessie Smith.  It incorporates photographs, handbills (fliers) about Smith’s performances, and other decorative elements.

tohyf_SAAR2Midnight Madonnas, 1996, (Mixed-media assemblage

tohyf_SAARcBetye Saar

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