AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY 8
African-AmericanHistory Visual Artists
African-AmericanHistory Visual Artists
Visualartists communicate different themes through their artwork. Everypiece of art is intended at a specific audience and comprises anexceptional theme. African American visual artists employ art toinform on black history. Their work is influenced by experience asblacks, in addition to observing incidences like racism andinequality. Some of the major themes apparent in the visual arts areracism and inequality.
RashidJohnson is an African American visual artist born in 1977. He isinvolved in the production of abstract post-black art. He wasbrought up in Wicker Park Chicago, in addition to Evanston Illinois(Widholm & Johnson, 2012). Johnson pursued a creation of blackartists that concentrated on the African American experience. He wasraised in a surrounding, greatly influenced by Black EntertainmentTelevision and hip-hop. As a result of his age group’s majorintroduction to black tradition in pop culture, his present-dayaudiences have acquired advanced comprehension of the blackknowledge. Fundamental exposure of audiences to the African Americanlife has facilitated his attainment of an in-depth race and identityrelations (Widholm & Johnson, 2012).
Johnston’sinterest in visual arts is apparent through his field of study. Hehas majored in photography at the ColumbianCollege Chicagoand in 2000 he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts. In addition,Johnson has attended the Schoolof the Art Institute of Chicagowhere in 2005 he got a Master of Fine Arts (Widholm & Johnson,2012). Following his Masters degree, he relocated to New York,becoming an instructor at the PrattInstitute.The artist is widely recognized as a photographer and at timesregarded as a sculptor, in specific situations he has been regardedas an exceptional performer. He employs alchemy, foretelling,astronomy and different disciplines, which merge the natural andreligious globes to add to African American history. He works in anarray of media with outward and visual elements, which haveautonomous artistic importance and symbolism (Widholm & Johnson,2012). However, the elements are supplemented through their linkingto African American past.
Heis nationally recognized as a visual artist attributed to hisexceptional theme and art procedure. Apart from portrait photography,the artist employs a nineteenth era procedure, which employs atranslucent organic color, and sunlight exposure (Amirsadeghi &Eisler, 2013). Johnson attains painterly effects through the printswith the employment of coloring, applying brush strokes. He openedhis initial exhibition as a college junior at Schneider Gallery. Asat 2010, Johnson received status for his exceptional photo printingprocedure, as well as his intermediate and all-encompassing worksthat were highly priced (Amirsadeghi & Eisler, 2013). A number ofhis initial black and white photographs have been defined asamazingly wealthy, and was recognized for a sequence of extensivepictures of feet, which act as his elucidation of people’s movementin 2001. Johnson has also displayed his work in the 2001 Freestyleshow, which is accredited to launching his profession. Theexhibition’s curator, referred to the artist’s work aspost-black, regarding to visual art where racism is outstanding(Amirsadeghi & Eisler, 2013).
Johnson’sart illustrates the African American traditions, struggles and past.His most contentious display was referred to Chickenbonesand Watermelon Seeds (Amirsadeghi& Eisler, 2013).This theme was a sequence of conventional black food tradition toolslike watermelon seeds, cottonseeds, peas and directly inserted seedsto the photographic paper. In a different exhibition in SunriseMuseum, he displayed the ManumissionPapers.The artwork was named after the paper, which liberated slaves.African American slaves were expected to carry the papers as evidenceof their independence (Amirsadeghi & Eisler, 2013). The work wasdefined as much of a traditional explanation and imagery displayrelating to the Chickenbonesdisplay.Johnson organized feet, elbows and hands concepts geometrically intocubic, church window and ship figures. This was regarded as racialidentity research as the body parts were difficult to identify(Amirsadeghi & Eisler, 2013).
Togetherwith the Renaissance community at Chicago University, the artistdisplayed his work, TheEvolution of the Negro Political Costume(Cullum, 2002). He exhibited imitations of three clothes that AfricanAmerican politicians wore. This involved an ancient 1960s dashiki byJesse Jackson, Al Sharpton’s running suit of the 80s and anexecutive suit worn by America’s senator in the 80s (Cullum, 2002).During his postgraduate profession, he participated in a traditionalprogram in Chicago, a display that featured five arising Chicagomodern artists and others from Taiwan. The artists had the initialopportunity to display in each other’s nations. Johnson’sexhibition was described as a display of race politics.
Johnsoncan be described as a post African American artist, whose media workdelves on racism whereas withdrawing its relevance by use ofdisagreement, coded suggestions and citations. The artist’s workstands out from displays of other Americans (Cullum, 2002). It isdefined as a synthesis of representations, figures and cinematographybathed in black. Johnson’s intentions are apparent through hiswork, which are the depiction of a fictional community of blackintellectuals (Cullum, 2002). He defines his artwork as a depictionof the difficulty of the black experience. Johnson is an AfricanAmerican visual artist, who informs on African American past. Asdiscussed, his artwork focuses on the theme of blacks. The intentionis to inform the audiences on the history of blacks using art, whichis an influential tool of communication.
KaraWalker was born in 1969. She is a modern African American visualartist. She was raised in an integrated California neighborhood. Atthe age of 13, the family relocated to Atlanta, where Walker realizedthat integration was not completely internalized (Cotter, 2007). Asshe became older, she was subjected to the issue of race. Walker’sfather was an artist, which is likely to have influenced her interestin becoming an artist. She currently resides in New York.Additionally, Walker is a faculty member of Columbia University(Cotter, 2007). Her increased interest in artwork is made apparent inher education and chosen profession. Walker was aware that she wantedto practice art, which she studied in school. Following her highschool study, she pursued the study of art. Walker was knowledgeableof artists that had an influence in her work, due to their focus onthe theme of racism. In 1991, she got a Bachelor of Fine Art fromAtlantaCollege of Art.In addition is a 1994 RhodeIsland School of Design,Master of Fine Art (Cotter, 2007).
Walker’swork evaluates the themes or racism, sexuality, gender, brutality anduniqueness. She is famous due to her room-size tableau of black paperpieces outlines (Cotter, 2007). She became famous from the age of 24,following the production of a mural exhibited during the DrawingCenter, SoHo. It was story scenery comprising a lengthy, ludicrous,ancient-timey heading: Gone(Cotter, 2007). The artwork was exceptional, made from black paperoutlines cut through and attached to the gallery wall. Through itsridicule historic form and Old South essence, the artwork comprisedof the airy, Valentine’s Day attractiveness of a loving dance.However, it was not intended as a love narrative, rather a danseinfernal on slavery, sexual category and humor. The piece becameinstantly famous following its exhibition (Cotter, 2007). Walker’stalent and focus on racism became apparent right from her initialvisual art exhibitions. Her upbringing played a major role in shapingthe focus of her work apparent in Goneand other subsequent artwork.
Theartist’s technique is compelling. Despite the shape and size of theartwork, or in movies, which are fundamentally animations, brillianceis apparent. Her outline images connect incomplete tradition fromAntebellum South. This brings to light issues relating toindividuality and gender for African American females in specific(Cotter, 2007). Although, due to her confrontational strategy towardsthe issue, Walker’s art is evocative of the 1960s Pop Art. Thefrightening and implausible images include a cinematic feel. Sheemploys images from historic textbooks to demonstrate the manner inwhich African American slaves were portrayed in the Antebellum South(Barnett, 2013). A number of Walker’s images are gross, forinstance, during TheBattle of Atlanta,a white man supposedly, a Southern combatant is depicted raping anAfrican American girl. Meanwhile the girl’s brother views theentire incidence in shock. Other incidences include a white childabout to draw in a sword into an African American woman, and a blackman that cries on a white boy (Barnett, 2013).
Thesubject matter of race dictates every piece of work by Walker. Withinrace, she derives a commotion of opposing notions and feelings. Theartist is single-minded in her view of racism as an actuality, butmultiple minded as to how the reality plays out in the current andhistoric times (Cotter, 2007). Through the theme, she acquired anenthusiastic audience, although not essentially a welcoming one. Anumber of African American artists from an ancient generation, withprofessions dating from the 1960s, outwardly damned her employment ofracial prejudices as offensive and opportunistic (Barnett, 2013). Thecritics describe her artwork as a manner of toadying herself to aracialist white visual arts production. Such critics do not deterWalker’s work, as her artwork is a manner of thinking aloud, as sheis an open artist.
Walkeris mainly provocative in her work. This is apparent through herinclusion of stereotypes that describe race relations in AntebellumSouth. It is apparent that some form of racism persists in the regionto date. The biggest room in her show comprises of wall samplersdepicting individuals involved in brutal deeds (Barnett, 2013). Theobjective is to make the audience question not just the culturaldepictions of African Americans, rather presumptions on the mannerskin color describes physical traits and conduct. She has displayedher work to a greater extreme in America, and at 27 years, is theyoungest individual to be awarded the esteemed MacArthurFoundation’sscholarship (Barnett, 2013). Walker views a direct link amid theracist historical viewpoints she evaluates in her visual art, andcontemporary events. For instance, in a recent road trip to southernstates, she visited diners where old white men still stared atblacks. Such incidences, she notes are communicated through her art.Walker is already accustomed to the fact that audiences are at timesmade uncomfortable by her work. This is because the work dares tocommunicate openly on identity and race, in some cases making fun ofthe audiences.
Amirsadeghi,H., & Eisler, M. H. (2013). Artstudio America: Contemporary artist spaces. New York: Thames and Hudson, Ltd.
Barnett,L. (2013). Kara Walker’s art: shadows of slavery. TheGuardian,1-1.
Cotter,H. (2007). Black and White, but Never Simple. TheNew York Times,1-1.
Cullum,J. (2002). National Black Arts Festival: Visual Arts 15 Visions ofAfrican-American Identity. AtlantaJournal-Constitution,1-1.
Widholm,J. R., Johnson, R., & Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago, Ill.).(2012). Rashid Johnson: Message to our folks.Chicago, Illinois: Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.