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African Art Exhibit Essay, Research Paper

African-American Art The exhibit of African-American art, entitled Interludeswas a very diverse display of styles and emotions. Manydifferent mediums were used: quilting, water colors, collages,marker, and oil were among the more popular ones seen. Some ofthe works were complete opposites; from the dark and dismalcollages done by Benny Andrews to the colorful and vibrant watercolor paintings created by Richard Mayhew, this exhibit showed awide range of feelings and ideas. When viewing the exhibit there seemed to be a continuedsense of sorrow and despair throughout many of the paintings. The Faith Ringgold paintings in the Slave Rape Series depictedAfrican women in an extreme state of fear. Anger towards thewhite, Europeans who captured and raped them was easily felt. One artist who continually put forth these dark emotions wasBenny Andrews. In his paintings, Sorrow and Shadows, you couldnot help but feel sorry for the people depicted in the works. The gestures of the starving and wounded people in Shadowsshowed how hungry and desperate they were. It was actually verydepressing to look at. Richard Mayhew s use of oranges andyellows and reds in his water color paintings was an exceptionin the exhibit. His works seemed to put forth an entirelydifferent emotion. Personally, I thought they were almost outof place; they stood alone when it came to emotions andattitude. One particular work of art which caught my eye several

times was Benny Andrew s New Day. This oil painting showed aman rising out of bed in the morning. After discussing thepainting with classmates, I realized my interpretation was verydifferent than everybody else s. This picture made me feelsorry for the man depicted here. From his gesture and thecomposition of the work I received a sense of loneliness, and Ifelt pity for the man. His dreary little room and the barrenlandscape gave me the feeling that this man was totally alone. Another painting which I found very interesting was Blood,by Barkley Hendricks. His paintings were very real looking, andfor this his works stood out. This is merely a portrait of atall, skinny African-American man. He stands in the familiarpose, leaning more on one leg than the other. This man, framedby a brilliant red background, stares directly into the eyes ofthe person viewing the picture. The artist shows how talentedhe is, painting the man s glasses with immense skill. A glareof light is reflected off the glass, and it looks almost like aphotograph. The shadows were drawn with great care, especiallythe one of the bracelet he wears on his right wrist. Being the first art exhibit I have ever seen, I did notknow what to expect when I first arrived at Interludes. It wasvery interesting to see many artists with different styles andmethods all grouped together in one show. My personal favoriteartist was Benny Andrews; I liked the way he depicted the peoplein his works.


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