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Art Gallery Report Essay, Research Paper

Out of Africa, the theme surrounding the art sculptures and masks at the American River College Art Gallery, can be viewed from February 21st through March 16th from 11am ? 5pm. The exhibit contains a collection of artifacts, mainly masks, owned by private collectors in the Sacramento area. Since the artwork is privately owned, information on the artifacts and the artist is somewhat limited. In rare occasions do the owners of these artifacts know anything about the artwork in which they could contribute useful information. Though limited, the exhibition still provides facts on the artwork and an approximate location of where it originated. The exhibit includes masks, woodcarvings, sculptures, and pictures related to Africa.

One particular picture titled ?Togo Landscape,? is that it is made out of thin wood strips, native plants, and cloth sewed into a canvas. It is approximately thirty years old and was made in Nigeria. The picture is of a woman carrying a barrel on her head and a small child looking up at what seems to be his mother, both cut outs of black cloth. The woman and child appear to be walking to a hutch along a campfire. They are wearing a long, black robe. The background distant tribal hutches and a cloudless sky are made out of thin wood strips sewn horizontally along the canvas. The painting consists of three colors: beige, light brown, and black.

The way the artist sews the wood strips and plant into the canvas horizontally creates the different texture. The color is achieved simply by the use of a different type of wood or a plant. Almost as if an illusion, at a distance one cannot distinguish what type of medium has been used and concludes it is a painting. But it is almost a surprise when you see that the picture is made out of wood strips, including all the detail. Which provides a sense of appreciation, even if the audience dislikes the picture in itself.

A feeling of tranquillity is conveyed through the picture partly because of the little child beckoning to his mother. The cloudless sky and light background transmit a serene setting, and the small campfire provides warmth and comfort. There is no confusion or chaos portrayed by any of the characters. It is a desert setting.

The method of which the artist chose to utilize the medium is somewhat unusual. Most of us are familiar with oil paintings and watercolor. The most interesting aspect of the art is the obvious level of ability and appreciation for the art. The picture appears to divulge a historical period in Africa where tradition was of tremendous significance. I believe the artist intended to picture the African heritage through the hutches and the types of clothing the two characters were wearing.

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