Monday, September 27, 2010

A Rethinking of Collage and Color

"Somebody Call on Ambivalence", 2007
Paper collage, gouache on wood panel (Kara Walker)

Kara Walker is notorious for her titllating and salacious imagery of the antebullum South. However in some of her pieces like this 2007 collage "Somebody Call on Ambivalence" she doesn't aim for shock value but has a more contemplative vien. Piece has a minimal effect as subject matter is only limited to two characters against a stained white background. However the seemingly simple and pristine imagery belies the complexity of painting. The lynched corpse that seem as a sort of sordid decoration effortlessly blend and stain white background which perhaps indict the altruism--whatever it may be--of black woman. Walker keeping with her tradition of simplicity makes a provocative statement while allowing viewer to pause in a deafening and uncomfortable silence.

"Pretty Double-Headed", 2010, Mixed Media, ink, collage, spray paint on Mylar (Wangechi Mutu)

Wangechi Mutu unlike Walker takes another approach on her collage pieces. She doesn't aim for aesthetic simplicity but instead creates a sumptous visual feast by distorting the human figure. Her collages--which mostly comes from a mixture of porn and high fashion magazines gives her macabre compositions a perverted sexiness and a savage loveliness to paintings. Wangechi somehow manages to both exploit and explore the myths and realities of 'idealized' beauty all the while contextualizing this 'menage a trois' of information overload to further analyze how the African body is treated and percieved visually, culturally and physically in a Western world.

Barnaby Furnas is a great example of how to express one's emotions on canvas. Furnas explosive colors and cinematic video game effects of splotches and fervor intensity is absolutely incredible. Somehow he is able through the abstact expressiveness of paint to encapsulate and freeze key yet imaginative moments in history. In this piece titled "Hamburger Hill" he makes the viewer fully engage in the heat of battle. The bloody and garrish scenes of battle is not only visually stimualting but is deeply disturbing on a pyschological level. Either way the clash of color and movement of paint is very interesting.

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