What a wonderful day I had yesterday in New York City visiting some great art exhibits. The Leon Golub show is sobering and I looked intently at the cut canvases and their placement on the wall. Duct tape can only go so far and affixing unstretched canvas to walls is no easy task. His paint looks like dried cement and this reinforces the often gruesome content. At the opposite end of the color spectrum is the work of Judith Bernstein. Her paintings are day-glo satires. Both artists’ works are similar for their angry disavowals of the status quo.
Today I worked on the Hattie McDaniel portrait trying to add more pure colors.
I am taking an online course entitled Marriage and the Movies and it has me thinking about how characters that African Americans had to play in movies were almost exclusively supporting roles, both figuratively and literally as they often had to prop up white actors/actresses. Most famously Hattie McDaniel’s character performed this function for Vivien Leigh’s Scarlett in Gone with the Wind. I remember many in the audience hissing when they saw the slaves in a showing of the film in New York in the 1990’s.I like to think that this portrait just begun of McDaniel will hiss and more if anyone would challenge her.
Today I have been working on this portrait of Ann Edwards, an ex-slave. The image was taken from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs online catalog. They have a treasure trove of photographs of ex-slaves from the Works Progress Administration. I have also pretty much completed the portrait of John Powell.