The defiant gaze in this work belongs to the artist, Claudette Johnson. She elegantly conveys her strength through the scale of the image, the position of her head, and her sensitive rendering. Using the side of the pastel stick, she captures the topography and tactility of her face in broad modulating strokes. The sharp point of a darker color details her eyes, nose, and mouth, defining her expression.
Johnson’s work is devoted to rectifying the lack of visibility of black women, especially in empathetic depictions. “The black women in my drawings are monoliths. Larger-than-life versions of women invisible to white eyes and naked to our own.”