Sunday, March 6, 2011

"Burning African Village Play Set..."

The Portland Art Museum always has a rotating showcase that changes every couple of months. From January 8th to April 17th they are holding an exhibit called “Safety in Numbers? Images of African American Identity and Community.” In observing this exhibit I came across a piece that stood out from all the rest. The piece was Kara Walker’s “Burning African Village Play Set with Big House and Lynching” done in 2006. Created from laser cut steel. This is a perfect example of positive and negative space, the silhouettes of each individual piece contain openings that create different shapes through the negative space as well as the positive shapes. Not only do the individual figures create shapes, but the placement and proximity of the pieces do as well. Depending on where you stand around the art piece the contours creates a variety of different shapes through the positive and negative space. The simplicity of the all black figures creates unity in each piece and draws the attention to all of the small details. The white stand that the art is placed on enhances the contrast of light and dark. This art piece is a beautiful depiction of the dissimilar society of whites and African Americans.

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