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Katarra LaRae Peterson (b. 1986, Vallejo, CA) is best known for her high-impact, unstretched, mixed-media paintings featuring kanekalon, a synthetic fiber used by African – Americans to braid their hair. While the work centers abstraction and landscape, there is special emphasis on materiality as the kanekalon functions both formally as a dimensional brushstroke and conceptually as a signifier of the Black femme experience. Peterson’s passion for color underpins the work; in tandem with frequent use of glitter, metallics and intensely rendered light, the comprehensive effect is at once illuminated and unpretentious, playful yet sublime.

Peterson earned her BS with honors in Studio Art from Skidmore College and subsequently enrolled in the MFA program at Rhode Island School of Design. She has exhibited nationally and internationally in Finland, Germany, and Uganda, and has been featured in The New York Times, Noah Becker’s Whitehot Magazine, Abstractions Magazine, The New York Post, and the Stamford Advocate, among other publications. She lives and works in The Bronx, New York.


Katarra LaRae Peterson   

Born 1986 

Vallejo, CA 

Lives and works in The Bronx, NY   


2010 MFA Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI (withdrew)  

2009 BS Studio Art, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY (Magna Cum Laude)

Selected Exhibitions   

2022 “Structured Optimism,” Standard Space, 147 Main St,  Sharon, CT, September 3 – October 9

2022 “Life, Death, Hereafter,” The Narthex at St. Peter’s Church, 619 Lexington Ave, New York, NY, April 4 – May 29

2021 “SPRING/BREAK Art Show: Heresay/ Heresy,” 625 Madison Ave, New York, NY, September 8-13, virtual through December 15

2021 “Fire Lit,” 545 Union Ave, Hudson NY, August 13

2021 “Talismans” (virtual), Monica King Projects, February 10 – March 31

2021 “Current | Undercurrent” (virtual), Fine Arts Center at University of Massachusetts Amherst, February 1 – May 14 (catalogue)

2020 “International Womxn’s Day Exhibition,” The Living Galllery, Brooklyn, NY, March 8

2020 “Shim/Experience,” Shim Art Network, 111 E. 29th St, New York, NY (pop-up exhibition), February 27 – March 7

2020 “Roots and Roads,” Franklin Street Works, Stamford, CT, February 8 – May 10 (catalogue)

2020 “WIP: Women In Paint Invitational,” 68 Jay St, Brooklyn, NY, February 4 – March 7

2019  “Our Kingdom for Baked Alaska” (residency/ exhibition), Woodside Presbyterian Church, Troy, NY, August 27-31  

2019  “Rachet Opulence” (exhibited and co-curated), The H-Loft Space, New York, NY, August 17 

2018  “Uppity 2 (Special Project and Performance)” Aqua Art Miami, Aqua Hotel and Suites, Miami Beach, FL, December 5-9 

2018  “PopUppity,” The Living Gallery Outpost, New York, NY, August 12 

2018  “Black and White and Re(a)d” All Over: Part 3,” Galleria Huuto, Helsinki, Finland, May 5 – 27; Galerie Critical Kunst, Berlin, Germany, June 29- July 29  

2018  “Uppity,” Inaugural Residency, The Living Gallery Outpost, New York, NY, March 2-8  

2016  “No, You Can’t Touch My Hair” (solo), Arthelix Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, October 22-23 

2016  “Shim Presents: Permission Slip,” Arthelix Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, May 28-31 

2014  “Bushwick Blick,” Arthelix Gallery, Brooklyn, NY December 12-21  

2013  “Annual Members’ Show,” Saratoga Arts Council, Saratoga Springs, NY, December 2013-       January 2014   

2012  “35th Anniversary Masquerade,” Albany City Gallery, Albany, NY, December 

2012  “Summer Exhibition,” 190 Gallery, Glens Falls, NY, August-November 

2012 “The Giving Circle” (residency), Jinja, Uganda, June 29 – July 12

2010  “First Friday,” Marketplace Gallery, Albany, NY, December 2010 – March 2011 

2010  “Red Dot Art Fair,” Skylight NYC, New York, NY, March 4-7     

2009  “New Perspectives in Contemporary Art,” Sundari Fine Art Gallery, Saratoga Springs, NY,  July 18-31   

2009 “Thesis Exhibiiton,” Tang Teaching Museum, Saratoga Springs, NY, May 8 – 16

2009  “Surface/Space” (solo), Case Gallery, Saratoga Springs, NY, April 30- May 16  

2009  “Visual Poetry,” Case Gallery, Saratoga Springs, NY, February 19-25