Tag Archives: african american

Five-Sided Television Set

jenn nkiru 5 sided tv photo by gail worley
Story and All Photos By Gail  Worley

When you think of the concept of Retrofuturism –an exploration of past visions of the future — this five-sided, console Television set might fit in perfectly.

Continue reading Five-Sided Television Set

Modern Art Monday Presents: Alma W. Thomas, Wind Sunshine and Flowers

wind sunshine and flowers photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

Alma W. Thomas derived her vibrant color palette and lyrical brush work from the shapes and movement of foliage, flowers, and other natural forms. The stripes of bright pigment in Wind, Sunshine and Flowers (1968) create an engrossing effect that recalls feelings of awe inspired by nature

For Thomas, the visual realm of natural phenomena offered a way to transcend the racial biases she experienced as a black painter and educator in the early to mid -20th century. In 1972 she wrote, “man’s highest aspirations come from nature. A world without color would seem dead. Color is life. Light is the mother of color. Light reveals to us the spirit and the living soul of the world through colors.”

Photographed in The Brooklyn Museum.

 

Modern Art Monday Presents: Norman Lewis, American Totem

norman lewis american totem photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

American Totem (1960) is one of a series of black-and-white paintings that Norman Lewis made which explore the emotional and psychic impact of the civil rights movement. Lewis, one of the few Black artists associated with Abstract Expressionism, created a form  that evokes the infamous hooded Klansman, but the monolith is composed of a multitude of smaller forms resembling apparitions, skulls and masks.

Lewis’s work suggest that terror is both representable and abstract, conscious an unconscious, visible and hidden. The painting was made more than decade after Lewis’s first solo show at the Willard Gallery in New York in 1949, which had earned him considerable renown but neither the financial rewards nor exhibition opportunities if his peers.

Photographed in The Whitney Museum in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Emma Van Name By Joshua Johnson

emma van name by joshua johnson photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

This compelling portrait of a Baltimore toddler picking berries from a surreally-scaled goblet is an icon of the American vernacular painting. Joshua Johnson, who was self taught, is the earliest known African American painter to make his living from his art. Emma Van Name (1805) is his most ambitious and engaging portrait of an individual child. Revealing the hallmarks of Johnson’s characteristic style in its naturalistic precision and imaginative flair, the painting is distinguished by a bravura demonstration of his talents in its nuanced palette, compositional complexity, and deft handling of details, especially in the child’s dress and demeanor.

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: The Wedding By Jacob Lawrence

the wedding by jacob lawrence photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

Jacob Lawrence (19172000) once wrote, “For me, the most important function of art is observation.” He was inspired by and created works based on his own experiences of everyday life in Harlem and the history of African Americans the United States. In  The Wedding (1948), Lawrence simultaneously depicted the solemnity and the joy of the marriage ceremony. Although the preacher’s face is only partially defined, he appears to look down with great seriousness at the couple as they contemplate their vows. The large, colorful urns overflowing with brilliant flowers signify the prosperity of this union

Photographed in the Art Institute, Chicago.

Pink Thing of The Day: Pink Mannequin Bust

Pink Mannequin Bust
Photo By Gail

What’s most interesting about this Hot Pink bust of a lovely African American lady, is that it’s not in use as your standard display mannequin, despite the fact that it is clearly in the middle of a clothing section of a department store. In this instance, it is really more like a sculpture; more like  a work of art meant to enhance the consumer’s shopping experience, I think. In my case, it was highly effective.

Photographed at Saks Fifth Avenue, The Gardens on El Paseo, Palm Desert, California.

Fred Wilson’s Guarded View

Fred Wilson Guarded View
Photo By Gail

Fred Wilson’s Guarded View (1991) aggressively confronts viewers with four black, headless mannequins dressed as museum guards. Each figure wears a uniform, dating to the early 1990s, from one of four New York cultural institutions: the Jewish Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Museum of Modern Art.

Continue reading Fred Wilson’s Guarded View